Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Brain Research: Oxytocin and Human Social Behavior, Social Cognition and Psychopathology
Throughout evolution, nonapeptides in the central nervous system have played important roles in modulating increasingly complex behaviors. In particular, converging evidence suggests that oxytocin evolved from earlier nonapeptides to facilitate and coordinate critical aspects of placental mammalian reproduction. During subsequent mammalian evolution, oxytocin has been selected to play other pro-social roles including formation of pair bonds and formation of social memory in rodent species. A now vast number of studies employing intranasal administration have demonstrated in humans and monkeys that oxytocin facilitates numerous aspects of social cognition in a context-dependent manner. Preclinical studies in rodents have demonstrated a wide variety of effects that suggest oxytocin may have therapeutic efficacy in reducing anxiety, depression, psychosis, addiction, pain and other psychiatric and medical morbidities. Recent clinical trials involving daily intranasal doses of oxytocin over sustained periods of time have found significant improvements in social and other deficits in autism spectrum disorders, significant reduction in psychotic symptoms and social cognitive and neurocognitive deficits in schizophrenia, and inhibition of withdrawal in alcohol dependent subjects. These clinical effects may shed new light on additional oxytocin mechanisms that evolved to promote maternal behavior, and later in mammalian evolution, other social attachments. Such putative functions that may have been selected for during the evolution of mammals could be the basis of the surprising and diverse set of therapeutic effects of oxytocin in humans. Numerous summaries of oxytocin effects on or associations with social behavior have been published (both in animal and human studies) and more investigations are underway.
Here we envision a special issue of Brain Research that focuses primarily on oxytocin relationships with human social behavior, social cognition and psychopathology. You are invited to contribute articles to this special issue. We are particularly interested in thought pieces/critical appraisals in these areas rather than traditional reviews. It is hoped that these collections will discuss the implications of what has been done as well as future directions for research.
The deadline for the submission is September 1st, 2013. The submitted materials will be peer-reviewed either by the special issue editors or outside reviewers. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact either Steve Chang (email@example.com) or Cort Pedersen (Cort_Pedersen@med.unc.edu).