Study: Oxytocin and parent–child interaction in the development of empathy among children at risk for autism.

This longitudinal study investigated whether variation in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) and early parent–child interactions predicted later empathic behavior in 84 toddlers at high or low familial risk for autism spectrum disorder.

 

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Findings are consonant with a differential susceptibility model in which an OXTR variant may increase the social salience of interaction processes for specific allele carriers. These results increase our understanding of predictors of empathy development in young children with a wide range of social outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)