Beyond “Oxytocin = Good”: Neural Complexities and the Flipside of Social Bonds
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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...
KeywordsOxytocin Social Bond Borderline Personality Disorder Pair Bonding Prairie Vole
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