Oxytocin conditions trait-based rule adherence

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Oxytocin conditions trait-based rule adherence

Type: Article / Letter to editor
Title: Oxytocin conditions trait-based rule adherence
Author: Gross, J.De, Dreu C.K.W.
Journal Title: Social cognitive and affective neuroscience
Issue: 3
Volume: 12
Start Page: 427
End Page: 435
Pages: 9
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: Rules, whether in the form of norms, taboos, or laws, regulate and coordinate human life. Some rules, however, are arbitrary and adhering to them can be personally costly. Rigidly sticking to such rules can be considered maladaptive. Here we test whether, at the neurobiological level, (mal)adaptive rule adherence is reduced by oxytocin - a hypothalamic neuropeptide that biases the biobehavioural approach-avoidance system. Participants (N=139) self-administered oxytocin or placebo intranasally, and reported their need for structure and approach-avoidance sensitivity. Next, participants made binary decisions and were given an arbitrary rule that demanded to forgo financial benefits. Under oxytocin, participants violated the rule more often, especially when they had high need for structure and high approach sensitivity. Possibly, oxytocin dampens the need for a highly structured environment and enables individuals to flexibly trade-off internal desires against external restrictions. Implications for the treatment of clinical disorders marked by maladaptive rule adherence are discussed.
Uri: http://scan.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/09/23/scan.nsw138
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/70217

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