DOI: 10.1111/jne.13339 ISSN:

Intranasal oxytocin does not change partner preference in female titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus), but intranasal vasopressin decreases it.

Pauline Zablocki‐Thomas, Allison Lau, Lynea Witczak, Madison Dufek, Amber Wright, Logan Savidge, John Paulus, Alexander Baxter, Chloe Karaskiewicz, Adele M. H. Seelke, Sara M. Freeman, Emilio Ferrer, Karen L. Bales
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


Strong social bonds are critical to human health, however, the mechanisms by which social bonds are formed and maintained are still being elucidated. The neurohormones oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (AVP) are considered likely candidates. Primate females, both human and non‐human, remain understudied populations. Here, we conducted a pharmacological study coupled with a behavioral partner preference test (PPT) to better understand the mechanistic basis of attachment in adult female titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus). This pair‐bonding species shares a conserved form of oxytocin with humans and is an excellent model organism to study the neural basis of social bonding. We performed intranasal administration of three doses of oxytocin (IN‐OT), two doses of vasopressin (IN‐AVP), one dose of an oxytocin antagonist (IN‐OTA) and one dose of a saline treatment. We found that compared to the saline control, the IN‐AVP treatment (lower dose, 40 IU/kg) decreased the time spent in proximity to the partner and increased lip‐smacking toward the stranger. We found no effects of IN‐OT or IN‐OTA manipulation on partner preference. In contrast, low‐dose IN‐AVP weakened the partner preference in female titi monkeys.

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