Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oxytocin 'polarises men's opinions of their mothers', makes faces familiar

A hormone known as the "love drug" makes men with good memories of early childhood more nostalgic about their mother's love, say scientists.

But oxytocin, which is produced in the brain, makes men with bad memories of their mothers even more critical of them, psychiatrists found.

Dr Jennifer Bartz and colleagues from Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York studied the responses of 31 men to the hormone, which is released in large quantities when men and women are in love.

They asked them to complete questionnaires about how well they felt their mothers treated them as children, both before being given oxytocin and afterwards.

Dr Bartz said those who recalled being "closer to their mother" tended to exaggerate the maternal bond after taking the hormone, while the effect on those whose memories invoked "anxiety" was the opposite.

Studies on oxytocin, which is also secreted in abundance in the brains of breastfeeding women, have tended to conclude it is a general mood enhancer. ...

via Oxytocin 'polarises men's opinions of their mothers' - Telegraph.

Social recognition is the basis of all social interactions. Here, we show that, in humans, the evolutionarily highly conserved neuropeptide oxytocin, after intranasal administration, specifically improves recognition memory for faces, but not for nonsocial stimuli. With increased oxytocin levels, previously presented faces were more correctly assessed as "known," whereas the ability of recollecting faces was unchanged. This pattern speaks for an immediate and selective effect of the peptide strengthening neuronal systems of social memory.

via - Journal of Neurosci

No comments: