Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1115–1118 | Cite as

Beyond “Oxytocin = Good”: Neural Complexities and the Flipside of Social Bonds

  • Sari M. van Anders
  • James L. Goodson
  • Marcy A. Kingsbury
Guest Editorial

Everyone loves a love story, so it is no surprise that research on oxytocin (OT) and affiliation has grabbed scientific and popular attention over the past decade. Laypeople and scholars from diverse fields often conceptualize OT and other neuropeptides like vasopressin and prolactin (AVP; PRL) as prosocial, i.e., positively linked to positive social events and states like sexuality, pair bonding, trust, commitment, affiliation, etc. However, there are arguably no neurochemicals that exert unitary and beneficent functions throughout the brain and body, such as uniformly promoting prosocial (i.e., “good”) behavior. In addition, we cannot expect that peptides such as AVP and OT will exert identical effects across species, given that the brain distributions of relevant receptors are species-specific. In this Guest Editorial, we highlight these complexities as they relate to the sociosexual functions of OT.

Critical attention to the assumption that “OT = GOOD” is based not only on the...


Oxytocin Social Bond Borderline Personality Disorder Pair Bonding Prairie Vole 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sari M. van Anders
    • 1
  • James L. Goodson
    • 2
  • Marcy A. Kingsbury
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Psychology & Women’s Studies, Program in Neuroscience, Reproductive Sciences Program, Science, Technology, & Society ProgramUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, Department of BiologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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