Date of Graduation

5-2015

Level of Access

Restricted: Archival Copy [No Access]

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department or Program

Neuroscience

First Advisor

Koven, Nancy

Abstract

Recently, the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) has been shown to play a prominent role in social cognition, a complex ability that is composed of a variety of elements, including the ability to perceive, think about, attend to, remember, and make sense of others in the social world. It is unclear, however, if aspects of cognition mediate the relationship between OT and these social cognitive skills and, if so, whether OT acts alone or in combination with another neurotransmitter to achieve its effects. This study investigated OT’s role in modulating fluid intelligence (gF), a cognitive domain that includes the ability to reason logically and form patterns from complexity. Fluid intelligence, along with crystalized intelligence (gC) as a contrasting reference variable, was assessed using the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III (WAIS-III). The Profile of Mood States (POMS) was used to control for any confounding effects of mood state on cognitive performance. In addition to OT, dopamine (DA), which is known to interact with OT in neural circuitry of relevance to social cognition, was quantified in order to gauge potential synergistic effects on fluid intelligence. Levels of each neurotransmitter was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) from saliva. DA analysis was dropped due to lack of usable results from ELISA. It was found that OT levels correlate positively with gF only in men; however, this correlation is not exclusive to the gF domain. Instead, there is a broader relationship between OT and general intelligence, in which gC has a negative association with OT.

Components of Thesis

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