Poster E130, Monday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Oxytocinergic modulation of human adaptive communication and broadband neuronal dynamics
Arjen Stolk1, Idil Kokal2, Miriam de Boer2, Robert Oostenveld2, Ivan Toni2; 1Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, UC Berkeley, 2Donders Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen
Oxytocin is a neuromodulator thought to influence human social and affiliative behavior. Yet, to date, the neurophysiological mechanism by which oxytocin may do this remains largely unknown. This study addresses this issue by exploring the neurocognitive consequences of oxytocin administration during human adaptive communication. Fifty-eight males participated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment involving the intranasal administration of oxytocin (24 IU). The participants were asked to communicate non-verbally with two addressees, an adult or a child, in an experimentally controlled interactive setting. In reality, a confederate blindly performed the role of both adult and child addressee, such that the two addressees were matched in their level of understanding and differed only in terms of the communicator’s prior beliefs. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to capture the neuronal dynamics evoked during the live communicative interaction and contrasted neuronal activity evoked after oxytocin administration with that of placebo controls. Oxytocin tonically up-regulated broadband neuronal activity in a right-lateralized fronto-temporal circuit previously found to support human adaptive non-verbal communication in a state-dependent manner (Stolk et al., PNAS 2013). Communicators with stronger broadband fronto-temporal activity adjusted more readily their signals to what the addressees actually understood during the interaction, and were less biased by their prior beliefs about the abilities of those addressees. These findings point to a fundamental neuronal mechanism through which oxytocin influences how we adapt our social behavior, in line with previous work linking tonic up-regulation of broadband activity with on-line communicative alignment between interlocutors (Stolk et al., TiCS 2016).
Topic Area: THINKING: Decision making