An accumulating body of evidence demonstrates the crucial role of the neuropeptide hormone oxytocin (OT) in the modulation of social cognition and behaviour. However, OT is more than just a “social” neuropeptide as it’s also involved in the regulation of a number of other physiological systems. Indeed, oxytocin system dysfucntion may contribute to the overrepresentation of metabolic disorders in severe mental illnesses.
Remarkably, little work has explicitly investigated how the impact of OT on physiology influences social cognition and behaviour. Moreover, the role of the oxytocin gene pathway on psychological and physiological processess is poorly characterised. A better understanding of how the OT system influences the brain and body can help unravel the neurobiological basis of social function, and how this is linked to various physiological processes.