Oxytocin may be implicated in various sophisticated human processes, including attachment, trust, social perception, memory, and fear regulation. In this study, we explored the relationship between plasma oxytocin level measured after a task requiring intimate trust (secret sharing) and habituation of autonomic arousal (skin conductance response) in sixty healthy volunteers. Results revealed that oxytocin was elevated in the trust-related condition relative to a neutral baseline. In a cognitive stress condition (mental arithmetic task), there was no significant oxytocin elevation relative to the neutral condition. After controlling for age, gender, education, state anxiety and depression, we found a significant positive relationship between trust-related oxytocin level and habituation of autonomic arousal. This relationship was absent in the case of neutral (trust-unrelated) oxytocin level. These results suggest that the habituation of autonomic arousal is closely related to oxytocin released during trust-related social interactions.
- Autonomic arousal
- Skin conductance response
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience