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Effects of 25 mg oxazepam on emotional mimicry and empathy for pain: a randomized controlled experiment

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Emotional mimicry and empathy are mechanisms underlying social interaction. Benzodiazepines have been proposed to inhibit empathy and promote antisocial behaviour. First, we aimed to investigate the effects of oxazepam on emotional mimicry and empathy for pain, and second, we aimed to investigate the association of personality traits to emotional mimicry and empathy. Participants (n=76) were randomized to 25 mg oxazepam or placebo. Emotional mimicry was examined using video clips with emotional expressions. Empathy was investigated by pain stimulating the participant and a confederate. We recorded self-rated experience, activity in major zygomatic and superciliary corrugator muscles, skin conductance, and heart rate. In the mimicry experiment, oxazepam inhibited corrugator activity. In the empathy experiment, oxazepam caused increased self-rated unpleasantness and skin conductance. However, oxazepam specifically inhibited neither emotional mimicry nor empathy for pain. Responses in both experiments were associated with self-rated empathic, psychopathic and alexithymic traits. The present results do not support a specific effect of 25 mg oxazepam on emotional mimicry or empathy.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Efficacy of intervention. (a) Reaction times increased from before the experiment to after, and more so in the oxazepam group, confirming that the administered drug had a biological effect. Estimates were back-transformed from the inverse for plotting. (b) Oxazepam caused decrease state anxiety after the experiment in the oxazepam group compared with the placebo group. (c) Oxazepam did not affect participants’ pain thresholds. (d) Participants in wave 2 guessed after the experiment which treatment group they were in, using a five-level Likert-type scale to indicate whether they were sure they were in the placebo group, probably in the placebo group, equivocal, probably in the oxazepam group or sure they were in the oxazepam group. Labels are omitted for the ‘probably placebo’ and ‘probably oxazepam’ responses.
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RSOS160607F3: Efficacy of intervention. (a) Reaction times increased from before the experiment to after, and more so in the oxazepam group, confirming that the administered drug had a biological effect. Estimates were back-transformed from the inverse for plotting. (b) Oxazepam caused decrease state anxiety after the experiment in the oxazepam group compared with the placebo group. (c) Oxazepam did not affect participants’ pain thresholds. (d) Participants in wave 2 guessed after the experiment which treatment group they were in, using a five-level Likert-type scale to indicate whether they were sure they were in the placebo group, probably in the placebo group, equivocal, probably in the oxazepam group or sure they were in the oxazepam group. Labels are omitted for the ‘probably placebo’ and ‘probably oxazepam’ responses.

Mentions: Oxazepam caused slower reaction times, seen as an interaction between treatment and first/second administration of the test (9.4 ms, [5.0, 13.8], estimates back-transformed from the inverse, p=0.0001, figure 3a), confirming biological activity of the drug. Reaction times were slower in the second test (25.0 ms, [22.3, 27.7], p<0.0001, figure 3a).Figure 3.


Effects of 25 mg oxazepam on emotional mimicry and empathy for pain: a randomized controlled experiment
Efficacy of intervention. (a) Reaction times increased from before the experiment to after, and more so in the oxazepam group, confirming that the administered drug had a biological effect. Estimates were back-transformed from the inverse for plotting. (b) Oxazepam caused decrease state anxiety after the experiment in the oxazepam group compared with the placebo group. (c) Oxazepam did not affect participants’ pain thresholds. (d) Participants in wave 2 guessed after the experiment which treatment group they were in, using a five-level Likert-type scale to indicate whether they were sure they were in the placebo group, probably in the placebo group, equivocal, probably in the oxazepam group or sure they were in the oxazepam group. Labels are omitted for the ‘probably placebo’ and ‘probably oxazepam’ responses.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5383810&req=5

RSOS160607F3: Efficacy of intervention. (a) Reaction times increased from before the experiment to after, and more so in the oxazepam group, confirming that the administered drug had a biological effect. Estimates were back-transformed from the inverse for plotting. (b) Oxazepam caused decrease state anxiety after the experiment in the oxazepam group compared with the placebo group. (c) Oxazepam did not affect participants’ pain thresholds. (d) Participants in wave 2 guessed after the experiment which treatment group they were in, using a five-level Likert-type scale to indicate whether they were sure they were in the placebo group, probably in the placebo group, equivocal, probably in the oxazepam group or sure they were in the oxazepam group. Labels are omitted for the ‘probably placebo’ and ‘probably oxazepam’ responses.
Mentions: Oxazepam caused slower reaction times, seen as an interaction between treatment and first/second administration of the test (9.4 ms, [5.0, 13.8], estimates back-transformed from the inverse, p=0.0001, figure 3a), confirming biological activity of the drug. Reaction times were slower in the second test (25.0 ms, [22.3, 27.7], p<0.0001, figure 3a).Figure 3.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Emotional mimicry and empathy are mechanisms underlying social interaction. Benzodiazepines have been proposed to inhibit empathy and promote antisocial behaviour. First, we aimed to investigate the effects of oxazepam on emotional mimicry and empathy for pain, and second, we aimed to investigate the association of personality traits to emotional mimicry and empathy. Participants (n=76) were randomized to 25&thinsp;mg oxazepam or placebo. Emotional mimicry was examined using video clips with emotional expressions. Empathy was investigated by pain stimulating the participant and a confederate. We recorded self-rated experience, activity in major zygomatic and superciliary corrugator muscles, skin conductance, and heart rate. In the mimicry experiment, oxazepam inhibited corrugator activity. In the empathy experiment, oxazepam caused increased self-rated unpleasantness and skin conductance. However, oxazepam specifically inhibited neither emotional mimicry nor empathy for pain. Responses in both experiments were associated with self-rated empathic, psychopathic and alexithymic traits. The present results do not support a specific effect of 25&thinsp;mg oxazepam on emotional mimicry or empathy.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus