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Effects of 25 mg oxazepam on emotional mimicry and empathy for pain: a randomized controlled experiment
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
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Number of Authors: 9
2017 (English)In: Royal Society Open Science, E-ISSN 2054-5703, Vol. 4, no 3, 160607Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Emotional mimicry and empathy are mechanisms underlying social interaction. Benzodiazepines have been proposed to inhibit empathy and promote antisocial behaviour. First, we aimed to investigate the effects of oxazepam on emotional mimicry and empathy for pain, and second, we aimed to investigate the association of personality traits to emotional mimicry and empathy. Participants (n= 76) were randomized to 25mg oxazepam or placebo. Emotional mimicry was examined using video clips with emotional expressions. Empathy was investigated by pain stimulating the participant and a confederate. We recorded self-rated experience, activity in major zygomatic and superciliary corrugator muscles, skin conductance, and heart rate. In the mimicry experiment, oxazepam inhibited corrugator activity. In the empathy experiment, oxazepam caused increased self-rated unpleasantness and skin conductance. However, oxazepam specifically inhibited neither emotional mimicry nor empathy for pain. Responses in both experiments were associated with self-rated empathic, psychopathic and alexithymic traits. The present results do not support a specific effect of 25mg oxazepam on emotional mimicry or empathy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 4, no 3, 160607
Keyword [en]
emotional mimicry, emotional contagion, empathy, benzodiazepines, psychopathic traits
National Category
Neurosciences Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-142698DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160607ISI: 000398107700004PubMedID: 28405353OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-142698DiVA: diva2:1093380
Available from: 2017-05-05 Created: 2017-05-05 Last updated: 2017-05-05Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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