Sometimes referred to as the “love hormone”, oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that plays a powerful role in relationships between couples, enhancing the emotional bond of motherhood.
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A recent US study reported – reported by the German News Agency – that people whose brains produce larger amounts of the hormone oxytocin are friendlier and more satisfied with their lives.
And researchers wrote in the scientific journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience last April that, moreover, oxytocin secretion increases with age in many people.
Sometimes referred to as the “love hormone”, oxytocin is a neurotransmitter produced in the hypothalamus, which plays a powerful role in relationships between couples, enhancing among other things the emotional bond of motherhood.
However, it also affects our social interactions with all the people around us and its secretion can be stimulated by activities such as touching, listening to music or exercising.
The research team included in their study, which they conducted, under the supervision of scientist Paul Zack from Claremont Graduate University, 103 participants aged 18 to 99 years.
Oxytocin secretion in the brain
Participants were shown a video clip depicting a child suffering from cancer, a clip that researchers found earlier in the team that stimulates oxytocin secretion in the brain, and before and after watching the video, blood samples were taken from humans. participants in the study, to measure the degree of change in their hormonal levels.
“Participants in our study who released more oxytocin were more generous to charity when given the opportunity, and they did many of the other beneficial behaviors,” says Zack, lead author of the research, noting that the team was gave participants the opportunity to donate some of their financial resources, generated from study income, went to a child cancer charity and this option was used as a way to measure immediate positive behavior towards society.
Overall satisfaction with life
In addition, data on the emotional state of study participants were collected to assess their overall life satisfaction. To test positive attitudes toward society, the scientists also asked if participants had made financial or in-kind donations, or had done volunteer work over the past year.
“We also found that oxytocin secretion increases with age and is positively associated with life satisfaction,” which means, according to research, that older people have higher levels of this hormone and are on average more willing to offer help and more. satisfied, compared to young people.
However, it was not clear from the study whether oxytocin secretion was the result of the behaviors observed, or the reason for their occurrence for individuals.
The study stressed that “there are other possible factors besides oxytocin secretion, which can push individuals to share their money with others, donate to charity, participate in religious activities and cause a high status “Life satisfaction, which we can not. measure, should be explored in future research.”
How does oxytocin work?
There are differences among scientists about how oxytocin works, in particular, and it has been proven that the hormone plays an important role in the relationship between mother and her baby, and that oxytocin helps in the birth process, stimulates milk production and enhances relationships with it. porsalindurin.
The hormone can also reduce stress and anxiety, increase feelings of sensitivity in people, is important in terms of sexual desire and can support relationships between couples and increase trust between individuals.
And the confidence-boosting factor was confirmed by an experiment conducted by expert Michael Kosfeld and psychologist Markus Heinrich, where it was found that people who were given the hormone intranasally, became safer for others compared to those who took a placebo.
Oxytocin can make people more suspicious and malicious
As it soon became clear after further research, that this state of mind, which was formed by the chemical substance of the hormone, is more ambiguous than originally assumed, and that its description as the “love hormone” is not sufficient to explain his truth. role in shaping our social behavior. .
For example, some studies have shown that in some circumstances, oxytocin can make people more suspicious and malicious.
Indeed, research conducted by Dutch psychologist Carsten de Drew, showed that the hormone increases a person’s desire to believe and cooperate with others, but only within the group where he feels he belongs, while other groups are avoided and this thesis falls encounters study conducted by Heinrich and colleagues.