Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Positive social behaviours are induced and retained after oxytocin manipulations mimicking endogenous concentrations in a wild mammal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The neuropeptide hormone oxytocin modulates numerous social and parental behaviours across a wide range of species, including humans. We conducted manipulation experiments on wild grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) to determine whether oxytocin increases proximity-seeking behaviour, which has previously been correlated with endogenous oxytocin concentrations in wild seal populations. Pairs of seals that had never met previously were given intravenous injections of 0.41 µg kg−1 oxytocin or saline and were observed for 1 h post-manipulation. The dose was designed to mimic endogenous oxytocin concentrations during the observation period, and is one of the lowest doses used to manipulate behaviour to date. Seals given oxytocin spent significantly more time in close proximity to each other, confirming that oxytocin causes conspecifics to seek others out and remain close to one another. Aggressive and investigative behaviours also significantly fell after oxytocin manipulations. Despite using a minimal oxytocin dose, pro-social behavioural changes unexpectedly persisted for 2 days despite rapid dose clearance from circulation post-injection. This study verifies that oxytocin promotes individuals staying together, demonstrating how the hormone can form positive feedback loops of oxytocin release following conspecific stimuli, increased motivation to remain in close proximity and additional oxytocin release from stimuli received while in close proximity.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number20170554
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume284
Issue number1855
Early online date24 May 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2017

    Research areas

  • Oxytocin, Manipulation, Social behaviour, Proximity seeking behaviour, Seal, Intravenous

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. High oxytocin infants gain more mass with no additional maternal energetic costs in wild grey seals (Hailchoerus grypus)

    Robinson, K. J., Hazon, N., Twiss, S. & Pomeroy, P., 27 Aug 2019, In : Psychoneuroendocrinology. 110, 7 p., 104423.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Individual size, sex and rearing environment impact on aggression in newly weaned seals

    Robinson, K. J., Pomeroy, P. P., Hazon, N., Moss, S. & Twiss, S. D., Apr 2017, In : Marine Mammal Science. 33, 2, p. 621-629 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Maternal oxytocin is linked to close mother-infant proximity in grey seals (Halichoerus grypus)

    Robinson, K. J., Twiss, S. D., Hazon, N. & Pomeroy, P., 23 Dec 2015, In : PLoS ONE. 10, 12, 17 p., e0144577.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Conspecific recognition and aggression reduction to familiars in newly weaned, socially plastic mammals

    Robinson, K. J., Twiss, S., Hazon, N., Moss, S., Lonergan, M. & Pomeroy, P., Aug 2015, In : Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 69, 8, p. 1383-1394 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Oscar Eduardo Gaggiotti (Member of editorial board)
    1 Jan 2013 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  2. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Kate Arnold (Reviewer)
    2012 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Michael Gordon Ritchie (Editor)
    20102011

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  4. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Member of editorial board)
    2009 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  5. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Iain McCombe Matthews (Editor)
    2008 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. Advances in research on the impacts of anti-submarine sonar on beaked whales

    Bernaldo De Quirós, Y., Fernandez, A., Baird, R. W., Brownell, R. L., Aguilar De Soto, N., Allen, D., Arbelo, M., Arregui, M., Costidis, A., Fahlman, A., Frantzis, A., Gulland, F. M. D., Iñíguez, M., Johnson, M., Komnenou, A., Koopman, H., Pabst, D. A., Roe, W. D., Sierra, E., Tejedor, M. & 1 others, Schorr, G., 30 Jan 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1895, 20182533.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  2. Linguistic laws in chimpanzee gestural communication

    Heesen, R., Hobaiter, C., Ferrer-i-Cancho, R. & Semple, S., 13 Feb 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1896

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. No evidence that warmer temperatures are associated with selection for smaller body sizes

    Siepielski, A. M., Morrissey, M. B., Carlson, S. M., Francis, C. D., Kingsolver, J. G., Whitney, K. D. & Kruuk, L. E. B., 24 Jul 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1907, 10 p., 20191332.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Northern bottlenose whales in a pristine environment respond strongly to close and distant navy sonar signals

    Wensveen, P. J., Isojunno, S., Hansen, R. R., Von Benda-beckmann, A. M., Kleivane, L., Van Ijsselmuide, S., Lam, F. A., Kvadsheim, P. H., Deruiter, S. L., Curé, C., Narazaki, T., Tyack, P. L. & Miller, P. J. O., 20 Mar 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1899, 10 p., 20182592.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 249837423

Top