Oxytocin and vasopressin enhance responsiveness to infant stimuli in adult marmosets

Jack H. Taylor, Jeffrey A. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


The neuropeptides oxytocin (OT) and arginine-vasopressin (AVP) have been implicated in modulating sex-specific responses to offspring in a variety of uniparental and biparental rodent species. Despite the large body of research in rodents, the effects of these hormones in biparental primates are less understood. Marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus) belong to a clade of primates with a high incidence of biparental care and also synthesize a structurally distinct variant of OT (proline instead of leucine at the 8th amino acid position; Pro8-OT). We examined the roles of the OT and AVP systems in the control of responses to infant stimuli in marmoset monkeys. We administered neuropeptide receptor agonists and antagonists to male and female marmosets, and then exposed them to visual and auditory infant-related and control stimuli. Intranasal Pro8-OT decreased latencies to respond to infant stimuli in males, and intranasal AVP decreased latencies to respond to infant stimuli in females. Our study is the first to demonstrate that Pro8-OT and AVP alter responsiveness to infant stimuli in a biparental New World monkey. Across species, the effects of OT and AVP on parental behavior appear to vary by species-typical caregiving responsibilities in males and females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-159
Number of pages6
JournalHormones and Behavior
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015



  • Biparental
  • Maternal
  • Neuropeptide
  • Paternal
  • Primate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this