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Stanković, Miloš ORCID: 0000-0001-9767-5634; Bašić, Jelena; Milošević, Vuk; Nešić, Milkica ORCID: 0000-0002-1197-1457 (2019): Oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene polymorphisms and recognition memory for emotional and neutral faces: A pilot study. In: Learning and Motivation, Vol. 67, 101577
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Abstract

Recognition memory for emotional faces plays a fundamental role in social behavior. Previous studies have indicated that an intranasal application of oxytocin facilitates emotional recognition, whereas little is yet known about the effects of genetics. This study examined the effects of oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) rs53576 and rs2254298 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on recognition memory for emotional (fearful, angry, sad, disgusted, surprised, happy) and neutral faces. Seventy-four Caucasian students (42 female), completed a novel experimental task of recognition memory for emotional and neutral faces. Photographs of emotional and neutral faces in color were taken from The Karolinska Directed Emotional Faces set. The results suggested a possible effect of rs2254298 on recognition memory for the emotion of surprise. Subjects with the GA genotype had a lower recognition memory for surprise than subjects with the GG genotype, while we found no effect for the recognition of fearful, angry, sad, disgusted, happy or neutral faces. The results suggested a possible effect of rs53576 on recognition memory for the emotion of fear. Subjects with the GA genotype demonstrated faster recognition memory for fear than subjects with the GG genotype. The present study suggests the significance of rs2254298 and rs53576 SNPs for emotion-recognition memory processes, and may contribute to further understanding of social behavior. However, the small sample size and related statistical issues limit our ability to interpret the current results. Hence, while the results of this pilot study should be considered preliminary, they have the potential to contribute to future meta-analyses.