Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

Effects of oxytocin on cognition and mood in binge eating disorder

The Hormon Oxytocin

Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that is synthesized in our brain and associated with an enhanced bonding between mother and baby after birth. Additionally, researcher found evidence for a positive role of oxytocin in social interactions as well as in the perception of food stimuli.

Binge eating disorder

Patients with binge eating disorder regularly suffer from eating attacks during which they eat a huge amount of food within a short period of time. Affected individuals experience a loss of control over those eating attacks which leads to considerable psychological strain.

Studies indicated that processing of food information is different in individuals with binge eating disorder compared to individuals without eating problems.

The object of the study

In this study we investigate the impact of oxytocin on reward sensitivity to food stimuli. Specifically, we are interested in differences between individuals with binge eating disorder compared to those without such eating attacks.

Therefore, the study is composed of two measurement sessions. In one of those sessions the participants receive oxytocin by intranasal application and at the other a placebo. The differences of both measurement sessions are assumed to be a result of the oxytocin treatment.

Diagnostic methods

This study comprises several different methods including interviews und questionnaires as well as computerized tasks and a task to examine changes in taste sensation.

Computerized task

In order to assess reward sensitivity to food stimuli participants are instructed to look at pictures of different kinds of food and everyday-life objects. While viewing the pictures, their pupil width was continuously measured.


In addition to the visual processing of food stimuli we further examine the impact of oxytocin to the sensation of taste. For that reason we provide different kinds of food samples which are supposed to be rated concerning their flavors and other characteristics.

Who is able to participate?

For this study we are looking for female participants that either suffer from regular eating attacks or healthy females without any eating problematic in their lifetime so far.

Overview of the study:

Participants receive 72 € as compensation for expenses.