Oxytocin, the ‘love hormone’ that builds mother-baby bonds and may help us feel more connected toward one another, can also make surly monkeys treat each other a little more kindly.
“The inhaled oxytocin enhanced ‘prosocial’ choices by the monkeys, perhaps by making them pay more attention to the other individual,” said neuroscientist Michael Platt, who headed the study and is director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. “If that’s true, it’s really cool, because it suggests that oxytocin breaks down normal social barriers.”.
Study Link: Inhaled oxytocin amplifies both vicarious reinforcement and self reinforcement in rhesus macaques
People attend not only to their own experiences, but also to the experiences of those around them. Such social awareness profoundly influences human behavior by enabling observational learning, as well as by motivating cooperation, charity, empathy, and spite. Oxytocin (OT), a neurosecretory hormone synthesized by hypothalamic neurons in the mammalian brain, can enhance affiliation or boost exclusion in different species in distinct contexts, belying any simple mechanistic neural model.