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Oxytocin and socioemotional aging: Current knowledge and future trends.

Ebner NC, Maura GM, Macdonald K, Westberg L, Fischer H - Front Hum Neurosci (2013)

Bottom Line: Specifically, OT has been examined in the context of social memory, emotion recognition, cooperation, trust, empathy, and bonding, and-though evidence is somewhat mixed-intranasal OT appears to benefit aspects of socioemotional functioning.In this review, we take a genetic-neuro-behavioral approach and evaluate current evidence on age-related changes in the OT system as well as the putative effects of these alterations on age-related socioemotional functioning.As an exemplar of the use of the model, we report exploratory data suggesting differences in socioemotional processing associated with genetic variation in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) in samples of young and older adults.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Florida Gainesville, FL, USA.

ABSTRACT
The oxytocin (OT) system is involved in various aspects of social cognition and prosocial behavior. Specifically, OT has been examined in the context of social memory, emotion recognition, cooperation, trust, empathy, and bonding, and-though evidence is somewhat mixed-intranasal OT appears to benefit aspects of socioemotional functioning. However, most of the extant data on aging and OT is from animal research and human OT research has focused largely on young adults. As such, though we know that various socioemotional capacities change with age, we know little about whether age-related changes in the OT system may underlie age-related differences in socioemotional functioning. In this review, we take a genetic-neuro-behavioral approach and evaluate current evidence on age-related changes in the OT system as well as the putative effects of these alterations on age-related socioemotional functioning. Looking forward, we identify informational gaps and propose an Age-Related Genetic, Neurobiological, Sociobehavioral Model of Oxytocin (AGeNeS-OT model) which may structure and inform investigations into aging-related genetic, neural, and sociocognitive processes related to OT. As an exemplar of the use of the model, we report exploratory data suggesting differences in socioemotional processing associated with genetic variation in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) in samples of young and older adults. Information gained from this arena has translational potential in depression, social stress, and anxiety-all of which have high relevance in aging-and may contribute to reducing social isolation and improving well-being of individuals across the lifespan.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

(A) Emotion identification (Ebner et al., 2010); (B) Face memory (Ebner and Johnson, 2009); (C) Emotion identification: dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (Ebner et al., 2012). YA, Young adults; OA, Older adults.
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Figure 1: (A) Emotion identification (Ebner et al., 2010); (B) Face memory (Ebner and Johnson, 2009); (C) Emotion identification: dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (Ebner et al., 2012). YA, Young adults; OA, Older adults.

Mentions: At the same time, older adults often show increased difficulties in accurate recognition of social and emotional cues (for reviews see Isaacowitz et al., 2007; Ruffman et al., 2008; see also Ebner and Johnson, 2010; see Figure 1A). Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data suggests that these difficulties are associated with greater activity in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) in older compared to young adults during facial emotion reading, particularly for angry expressions (Williams et al., 2006; Keightley et al., 2007; Ebner et al., 2012; see Figure 1C). This association comports with previous evidence that dmPFC is involved in complex processing and cognitive and emotional control (Amodio and Frith, 2006). Another age-related change in socioemotional functioning is that older compared to young adults demonstrate more interpersonal trust (List, 2004; Castle et al., 2012). This change may be due to the difficulty older adults often have in “reading” the emotions of others, as suggested by recent findings that older compared to young adults are less proficient at detecting lies, mediated by deficits in emotion recognition (Ruffman et al., 2012). With respect to changes in memory, there is evidence that the majority of older adults experience declines in remembering critical socioemotional cues, including names (Crook et al., 1993; Verhaeghen and Salthouse, 1997) and faces (Bartlett et al., 1989; Grady et al., 1995; Ebner and Johnson, 2009; see Figure 1B). Finally, in terms of social motivation, there is robust evidence that older adults are more avoidance-oriented and less approach-oriented than young adults (Ebner et al., 2006; Freund, 2006; Nikitin et al. in revision).


Oxytocin and socioemotional aging: Current knowledge and future trends.

Ebner NC, Maura GM, Macdonald K, Westberg L, Fischer H - Front Hum Neurosci (2013)

(A) Emotion identification (Ebner et al., 2010); (B) Face memory (Ebner and Johnson, 2009); (C) Emotion identification: dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (Ebner et al., 2012). YA, Young adults; OA, Older adults.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3755210&req=5

Figure 1: (A) Emotion identification (Ebner et al., 2010); (B) Face memory (Ebner and Johnson, 2009); (C) Emotion identification: dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (Ebner et al., 2012). YA, Young adults; OA, Older adults.
Mentions: At the same time, older adults often show increased difficulties in accurate recognition of social and emotional cues (for reviews see Isaacowitz et al., 2007; Ruffman et al., 2008; see also Ebner and Johnson, 2010; see Figure 1A). Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data suggests that these difficulties are associated with greater activity in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) in older compared to young adults during facial emotion reading, particularly for angry expressions (Williams et al., 2006; Keightley et al., 2007; Ebner et al., 2012; see Figure 1C). This association comports with previous evidence that dmPFC is involved in complex processing and cognitive and emotional control (Amodio and Frith, 2006). Another age-related change in socioemotional functioning is that older compared to young adults demonstrate more interpersonal trust (List, 2004; Castle et al., 2012). This change may be due to the difficulty older adults often have in “reading” the emotions of others, as suggested by recent findings that older compared to young adults are less proficient at detecting lies, mediated by deficits in emotion recognition (Ruffman et al., 2012). With respect to changes in memory, there is evidence that the majority of older adults experience declines in remembering critical socioemotional cues, including names (Crook et al., 1993; Verhaeghen and Salthouse, 1997) and faces (Bartlett et al., 1989; Grady et al., 1995; Ebner and Johnson, 2009; see Figure 1B). Finally, in terms of social motivation, there is robust evidence that older adults are more avoidance-oriented and less approach-oriented than young adults (Ebner et al., 2006; Freund, 2006; Nikitin et al. in revision).

Bottom Line: Specifically, OT has been examined in the context of social memory, emotion recognition, cooperation, trust, empathy, and bonding, and-though evidence is somewhat mixed-intranasal OT appears to benefit aspects of socioemotional functioning.In this review, we take a genetic-neuro-behavioral approach and evaluate current evidence on age-related changes in the OT system as well as the putative effects of these alterations on age-related socioemotional functioning.As an exemplar of the use of the model, we report exploratory data suggesting differences in socioemotional processing associated with genetic variation in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) in samples of young and older adults.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Florida Gainesville, FL, USA.

ABSTRACT
The oxytocin (OT) system is involved in various aspects of social cognition and prosocial behavior. Specifically, OT has been examined in the context of social memory, emotion recognition, cooperation, trust, empathy, and bonding, and-though evidence is somewhat mixed-intranasal OT appears to benefit aspects of socioemotional functioning. However, most of the extant data on aging and OT is from animal research and human OT research has focused largely on young adults. As such, though we know that various socioemotional capacities change with age, we know little about whether age-related changes in the OT system may underlie age-related differences in socioemotional functioning. In this review, we take a genetic-neuro-behavioral approach and evaluate current evidence on age-related changes in the OT system as well as the putative effects of these alterations on age-related socioemotional functioning. Looking forward, we identify informational gaps and propose an Age-Related Genetic, Neurobiological, Sociobehavioral Model of Oxytocin (AGeNeS-OT model) which may structure and inform investigations into aging-related genetic, neural, and sociocognitive processes related to OT. As an exemplar of the use of the model, we report exploratory data suggesting differences in socioemotional processing associated with genetic variation in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) in samples of young and older adults. Information gained from this arena has translational potential in depression, social stress, and anxiety-all of which have high relevance in aging-and may contribute to reducing social isolation and improving well-being of individuals across the lifespan.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus