More oxytocin = more social skills?

By Razib Khan | February 16, 2010 12:48 am

Ed Yong reviews a new paper:

The social interactions that come naturally to most people are difficult for people with autism and Asperger syndrome. Simple matters like making eye contact, reading expressions and working out what someone else is thinking can be big challenges, even for “high-functioning” and intelligent individuals. Now, a preliminary study of 13 people suggests that some of these social difficulties could be temporarily relieved by inhaling a hormone called oxytocin.

Only 13 individuals. That being said, since we’re a medicated nation we might as well consider all possibilities….

  • Clark

    Yeah I was excited until I read the details. It’s just facial recognition with a pretty small group. But at least this suggests a fruitful avenue of research even if it is largely meaningless on its own.

  • Alan Kellogg

    Being Aspers myself, I’m going to have to disagree. According to a study reported on in the March Scientific American Mind, it appears that people with Aspergers tend to spot things regular people miss. It’s not that we miss details such as reactions and facial expressions, it’s more that we get overwhelmed by them and react badly too them. React inappropriately because we get a bit freaked out.
    What this report shows me are people who tend to see what they want to see, to see what conforms to what they’ve been told and confirms what they know. It’s another “Face on Mars”, created by the same low resolution imaging effect that produced The Face. A higher resolution image, one in this case produced by more individuals instead of smaller pixels for the area imaged, will likely produce a much different picture.
    (Note that I’m using “image” in the case of the results of the autism study in a metaphorical sense.)


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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