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Oxytocin increases the social salience of the outgroup in potential threat contexts.

Authors
  • Egito, Julia H1
  • Nevat, Michael2
  • Shamay-Tsoory, Simone G2
  • Osório, Ana Alexandra C3
  • 1 Social and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory and Developmental Disorders Graduate Program, Center for Biological and Health Sciences, Mackenzie Presbyterian University, São Paulo, Brazil. , (Brazil)
  • 2 The Integrated Brain and Behavior Research Center (IBBR) and Department of Psychology, University of Haifa, Haifa, 3498838, Israel. , (Israel)
  • 3 Social and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory and Developmental Disorders Graduate Program, Center for Biological and Health Sciences, Mackenzie Presbyterian University, São Paulo, Brazil. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Brazil)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Hormones and Behavior
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2020
Volume
122
Pages
104733–104733
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2020.104733
PMID: 32179059
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

A growing body of literature suggests that OT administration may affect not only prosocial outcomes, but also regulate adversarial responses in the context of intergroup relations. However, recent reports have challenged the view of a fixed role of OT in enhancing ingroup favoritism and outgroup derogation. Studying the potential effects of OT in modulating threat perception in a context characterized by racial miscegenation (Brazil) may thus afford additional clarification on the matter. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, White Brazilian participants completed a first-person shooter task to assess their responses towards potential threat from racial ingroup (White) or outgroup (Black) members. OT administration enhanced the social salience of the outgroup, by both increasing the rate at which participants refrained from shooting unarmed Black targets to levels similar to White targets, and by further increasing the rate of correct decisions to shoot armed Black targets (versus White armed targets). In summary, our results indicate that a single dose of OT may promote accurate behavioral responses to potential threat from members of a racial outgroup, thus offering support to the social salience hypothesis. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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