Can neuropeptides represent biomarkers of social sensitivity and relationship functioning?

The SCN Lab is currently investigating whether circulating levels of oxytocin and/or vasopressin may represent biomarkers of social sensitivity and general relationship functioning.

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In our study, participants come to the lab to perform a social task and have their blood sampled on several occasions to measure changes in plasma oxytocin and vasopressin. Participants also complete a two week daily diary in which they respond to questions about positive and negative interpersonal events that occurred in the past day. We will be analyzing the association between changes in oxytocin and vasopressin in the lab and how that may predict interpersonal functioning on a daily basis. In addition, we are examining whether individual differences in oxytocin receptor gene methylation, as well as the cortisol awakening response, may moderate this relationship.