Re "Oxytocin found to affect brain in autistic kids" (Page A6, Dec. 3): While the double-blind design of this study is to be commended, the results and included comments of researchers are to be highlighted. As noted later in the article, while infusing the brain with oxytocin showed changes in the brain, there were no corresponding changes in the important behavior. This outcome is predictable, since the brain does not produce behavior. Rather, when behavior is selected by the social or physical environment, changes in brain functioning are also selected. The neurological and behavioral levels correlate with each other, and changes in both occur when environmental events following the behavior strengthen or weaken the behavior. Research has shown this correlation when simple motor behavior is acquired, when learning new words, and when talking to oneself with these newly acquired words. The brain can permit, but it cannot teach.
-- Robert Jensen, Fair Oaks, emeritus professor, psychology and behavior analysis, CSUS