Natural Rationality | decision-making in the economy of nature


Oxytocin and Sociality

Oxytocin is really the sociality hormone. It is involved in recognition (Popik et al., 1992) and postcoital bonding (Waldherr & Neumann, 2007). It improves mindreading in autistic (Hollander et al., 2006) and non-autistic humans (Domes et al., 2007b). It increases trust (Kosfeld et al., 2005; Zak et al., 2005) and generosity (Stanton et al., 2007). It was generally thought that its modus operandi is a modulation of amygdala (associated with fear) (Kirsch et al., 2005), but a new paper by (Domes et al., 2007a) suggests that it attenuates amygdala responses tout court.

  • Domes, G., Heinrichs, M., Glascher, J., Buchel, C., Braus, D. F., & Herpertz, S. C. (2007a). Oxytocin Attenuates Amygdala Responses to Emotional Faces Regardless of Valence. Biological Psychiatry, 62(10), 1187-1190.
  • Domes, G., Heinrichs, M., Michel, A., Berger, C., & Herpertz, S. C. (2007b). Oxytocin Improves "Mind-Reading" In Humans. Biological Psychiatry, 61(6), 731-733.
  • Hollander, E., Bartz, J., Chaplin, W., Phillips, A., Sumner, J., Soorya, L., Anagnostou, E., & Wasserman, S. (2006). Oxytocin Increases Retention of Social Cognition in Autism. Biol Psychiatry.
  • Kirsch, P., Esslinger, C., Chen, Q., Mier, D., Lis, S., Siddhanti, S., Gruppe, H., Mattay, V. S., Gallhofer, B., & Meyer-Lindenberg, A. (2005). Oxytocin Modulates Neural Circuitry for Social Cognition and Fear in Humans. J Neurosci, 25(49), 11489-11493.
  • Kosfeld, M., Heinrichs, M., Zak, P. J., Fischbacher, U., & Fehr, E. (2005). Oxytocin Increases Trust in Humans. Nature, 435(7042), 673-676.
  • Popik, P., Vetulani, J., & van Ree, J. M. (1992). Low Doses of Oxytocin Facilitate Social Recognition in Rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 106(1), 71-74.
  • Stanton, A. A., Ahmadi, S., & Zak, P. J. (2007). Oxytocin Increases Generosity. Paper presented at the Economic Science Association 2007 World Meeting.
  • Waldherr, M., & Neumann, I. D. (2007). Centrally Released Oxytocin Mediates Mating-Induced Anxiolysis in Male Rats. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(42), 16681-16684.
  • Zak, P. J., Kurzban, R., & Matzner, W. T. (2005). Oxytocin Is Associated with Human Trustworthiness. Hormones and Behavior, 48(5), 522-527.