Essay about How Does Oxytocin Affect Human Behavior?

1588 Words Feb 19th, 2016 null Page
Oxytocin is a hormone classified as a neuropeptide that is produced in the hypothalamus area of the brain and that mammals produce almost exclusively (1,2,5). From the hypothalamus, oxytocin spreads to other parts of the brain and peripheral parts of the body to influence cells and behavior. Although oxytocin has been known for almost a hundred years, research into its effects on behavior and exact function is still ongoing and has recently picked up.
For many years oxytocin has been used in medicine. In humans it is known to stimulate contractions in labor, increase milk ejection in lactation (4,5), and is found at increased levels during pleasurable activities such as a massage or sex (3). It is known by many names, the trust hormone, the love hormone, the cuddle hormone, because of the wide variety of behaviors it is known to affect. More recently, oxytocin is being researched for its role in social behaviors. It is believed that it may have a role in both romantic and social bonding in humans (3). While research in humans is still ongoing, it is known that oxytocin is a key part of pair bonding in monogamous animals (4). Its particular effects on a species are species specific (3), but research done in prairie voles, rats, and squirrel monkeys (2) all demonstrated that oxytocin plays a role in bonding behaviors. In this experiment, we will specifically look into the role of oxytocin on social behaviors when administered through intranasal means. Intranasal oxytocin is…

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