Coding errors lead to unsupported conclusions: a critique of Hofmann et al. (2015)
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Description: Due to converging evidence in animals and healthy human populations, oxytocin has been identified as potentially having therapeutic properties. As such, numerous randomized controlled trials have investigated the efficacy of intranasal oxytocin (IN-OT) on reducing psychiatric symptoms in clinical populations. As results have been mixed, meta-analytic reviews seeking to synthesize the extant literature have been published.One such review was published in Psychiatry Research (Hofmann et al., 2015). The authors concluded that IN-OT significantly improved psychiatric symptoms and found significant effects on depression, anxiety, psychotic symptoms, and general psychopathology. We found several errors in this paper and, when corrected, resulted in all null results (no effect of IN-OT)which suggests that the conclusions of Hofmann et al.(2015) are incorrect. The current letter therefore has three aims: (1) we will outline several errors and raise questions regarding their analysis; and (2) we will perform a meta-analysis using the same primary studies and similar methods; and (3) we will conclude by stating the importance of this letter