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Oxytocin and Dopamine's Effect on Vicarious Optimism

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT03891095
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : March 26, 2019
Last Update Posted : March 26, 2019
Yale University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
ma, yina, Beijing Normal University

Brief Summary:
To investigate the effect of intranasal Oxytocin and L-DOPA's effect on vicarious optimism.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Oxytocin Group L-DOPA Group Placebo Group Drug: Oxytocin Drug: L-DOPA Drug: Placebos Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

The current study adopted a double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled mixed design, with Treatment (oxytocin, dopamine, and placebo) as a between-subjects factor, and Target (self, friend, and an identifiable stranger) and Feedback (desirable vs. undesirable) as within-subjects factors. Upon arrival, participants first completed a set of questionnaires, including mood measurements and other questionnaires related to optimistic or prosocial tendency. Participants then self-administered with the pharmacological challenge 40 min before the main task, i.e., the belief updating task where participants indicated and updated their beliefs about the future of oneself, a gender-matched best friend, and a gender-matched identifiable stranger. At the end, participants completed the mood measurement again, as well the debriefing questionnaires which designed to measure their beliefs about the experimental process.

For the vicarious optimism task, participants completed three blocks of the two-session belief updating task where they were asked to estimate the likelihood of adverse life events happening to three targets: themselves (referred as Self), a gender-matched best friend (referred as Friend), and an identifiable stranger (whose name, brief description and picture were presented to the participants to get familiar with before the estimation, such as "The stranger is Zhexing, a 25-year-old male, Chinese"; referred as Stranger).

Participants completed two estimation sessions for one target before beginning with the next target, and the order of targets was counterbalanced across participants within each group. For the first session of each target block, participants were first presented with 30 different adverse life events (in a random order) and estimated the likelihood of each event happening to the target in the future (the 1st estimation, referred to as E1) on a self-paced basis. Participants were then presented with the probability of each event occurring to an average person in a similar environment (Feedback) for 2s. In the second session, participants estimated the likelihood of the same 30 events (in a random order) happening to the target person again without receiving feedback (the 2nd estimation, referred to as E2).

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 156 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Official Title: Oxytocin and Dopamine's Effect on Vicarious Optimism
Actual Study Start Date : December 1, 2018
Actual Primary Completion Date : January 15, 2019
Actual Study Completion Date : January 16, 2019

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Intranasal oxytocin
Oxytocin (OXT), a neuropeptide produced in the hypothalamus, is a key modulator of complex socioaffective responses including affiliation, social approach and attachment, stress and anxiety. Subjects receiving an intranasal spray of OXT (24 IU or 40.32 mg; Syntocinon-spray; Novartis, Switzerland)
Drug: Oxytocin
intranasally administrated

Drug: Placebos
intranasally administrated and orally administered

Experimental: L-DOPA
L-DOPA, a neuropeptide who is a key modulator of complex socioaffective responses including reward, social decision making, learning. Subjects receiving 187.5 mg Madopar (L-DOPA treatment, including 150 mg L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine, together with 37.5 mg benserazide, which promotes higher levels of dopamine in the brain while minimizing side effects from peripheral dopamine)
Drug: L-DOPA
orally administered

Drug: Placebos
intranasally administrated and orally administered

Placebo Comparator: Placebo
Participants in the Placebo group received spray and oral placebos. 24 IU saline (spray placebo) 187.5 mg calcium carbonate (oral placebo)
Drug: Placebos
intranasally administrated and orally administered

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Belief update value for self, friend and stranger [ Time Frame: 40~70 minutes after drug administration ]
    In the vicarious optimistic bias task, participants would make first estimation about the happening likelihood for each event for themselves, friend, and stranger and then receive feedback about the general likelihood of each event happened in future. After all events first estimation, participants would estimate all the event again. So, for the belief update, we used the second estimation value to minus the first estimation value to get the update value, as well as calculating the update value in desirable condition (first estimation < feedback) and undesirable condition (first estimation < feedback). Then investigated the general belief updating (gBU) and optimistic belief updating (using desirableBU-undesirableBU) for the three target (self vs. friend vs. stranger) in three treatment groups (Oxytocin vs. L-DOPA vs. Placebo)

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Older Adult
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Male
Gender Based Eligibility:   Yes
Gender Eligibility Description:   we opted to recruit only males for the present study.
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • healthy subjects without past or current psychiatric or neurological disorders

Exclusion Criteria:

  • subjects with past or current psychiatric or neurological disorders

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT03891095

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China, Beijing
Beijing Normal University
Beijing, Beijing, China, 100000
Sponsors and Collaborators
Beijing Normal University
Yale University
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Responsible Party: ma, yina, Principal Investigator, Beijing Normal University Identifier: NCT03891095    
Other Study ID Numbers: OT-DA-Vicarious optimism
First Posted: March 26, 2019    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 26, 2019
Last Verified: March 2019

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by ma, yina, Beijing Normal University:
intranasal oxytocin
Vicarious optimism
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Reproductive Control Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs