ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (6): 934-945.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00934

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The Effects of Oxytocin on Emotion Recognition and Its Mechanisms

JIN Yuchang; WU Jing   

  1. (School of Teacher Education and Psychology, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu 610066, China)
  • Received:2015-10-09 Online:2016-06-15 Published:2016-06-15
  • Contact: JIN Yuchang, E-mail:


Oxytocin is known as “social bonds hormone” which affects social behavior and cognition, including emotion recognition. At present, three views for the effect of oxytocin on emotion recognition to have been proposed: (1) oxytocin selectively promotes the recognition of positive emotions and slow down the recognition of negative emotions; (2) oxytocin selectively enhances the identification of negative emotions; (3) oxytocin improves the recognition of all emotions regardless of emotional valence. The neural mechanisms for the influence of oxytocin on emotion recognition to focus on three aspects: emotional valence, gender differences and psychiatric diseases. In addition, the social salience hypothesis has been put forward to explain the effects of oxytocin on emotion recognition. Oxytocin has the potential as a treatment for psychiatric diseases of emotion recognition disorders. Future research is expected to further investigate the relationship between oxytocin and emotional valence, as well as consider the influence of individual factors such as gender. There is also a need to deeply explore the clinical application of oxytocin and expand the research scope.

Key words: oxytocin, emotion recognition, emotion valence, neural mechanism, social salience