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Oxytocin Modulation of Startle Reactivity to Social Stimuli and Moral Decision Making

Information source: University Hospital, Bonn
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Healthy Male Volunteers

Intervention: Oxytocin (Drug)

Phase: Phase 1

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: University Hospital, Bonn

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Rene Hurlemann, MSc MD PhD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, University of Bonn, Germany


The purpose of this study is to determine whether oxytocin affects the modulation of startle reactivity by aversive social stimuli and to investigate the oxytocin effect on moral judgements. Furthermore the investigators explore the effects of oxytocin receptor (OXTR) polymorphisms on behavioral responses to social stimuli.

Clinical Details

Official title: Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Randomized Study: Oxytocin Modulation of Startle Reactivity to Social Stimuli and Moral Decision Making

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Basic Science

Primary outcome: baseline startle magnitude and affective modulation of the startle magnitude after oxytocin and placebo administration

Secondary outcome:

moral decision making after oxytocin and placebo administration

oxytocin receptor (OXTR) polymorphism and correlation with social behavior

Detailed description: The neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) can enhance the impact of positive social cues but may reduce that of negative ones, although it is unclear whether the latter causes blunted emotional responses. After OXT or placebo application participants are exposed to acoustic startle probes presented alone and during viewing of 60 color pictures mostly selected from the 'International Affective Picture System'. The paradigm featured 20 negative (mostly threatening), 20 neutral, and 20 positive pictures, presented for 5 s each. In the other part of the experiment, after intranasal OXT or placebo application participants respond to 60 moral dilemmas.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: 60 Years. Gender(s): Male.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Healthy male volunteers

Exclusion Criteria:

- Current or past psychiatric disease

- Current or past physical illness

- Psychoactive medication

- Tobacco smokers

Locations and Contacts

Department of Psychiatry, University of Bonn, Bonn 53105, Germany
Additional Information

Click here for more information about the NEMO research group

Starting date: August 2011
Last updated: May 25, 2012

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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