Saturday, October 26, 2013

Oxytocin debunked?

I've written on oxytocin before -- the connection some researchers have made between oxytocin and empathy, calling it the "moral molecule" or the "kindness hormone", and the odd coincidence that about 5% of the population do not release oxytocin at the usual stimulants and 1-4% of the population is psychopathic, etc. It seems like a wonder hormone and a justification for empathy and social bonding all at once. Or is it? This was an interesting summary of some recent findings that shed more light on oxytocin, suggesting that its affects are much more complicated than some believe, to be filed in the ever-expanding "empathy not all its cracked up to be" file:

It’s been called the cuddle hormone, the holiday hormone, the moral molecule, and more—but new research suggests that oxytocin needs some new nicknames. Like maybe the conformity hormone, or perhaps the America-Number-One! molecule.
In the past few years, however, new research is finding that oxytocin doesn’t just bond us to mothers, lovers, and friends—it also seems to play a role in excluding others from that bond. (And perhaps, as one scientist has argued, wanting what other people have.) This just makes oxytocin more interesting—and it points to a fundamental, constantly recurring fact about human beings: Many of the same biological and psychological mechanisms that bond us together can also tear us apart. It all depends on the social and emotional context.

The article breaks the recent research findings into five main categories:

1. It keeps you loyal to your love—and leery of the rest.

2. It makes us poor winners and sore losers.

3. It makes you cooperative with your group—sometimes a little too cooperative.

4. It makes you see your group as better than other groups (to a point).

5. It does make us trusting—but not gullible.

Some of the interesting quotes include:
  • [O]xytocin plays a critical role in helping us become more relaxed, extroverted, generous, and cooperative in our groups. Sounds utopian, doesn’t it? Perhaps a little too utopian. . . . The oxytocin-influenced participants tended to go with the flow of their group, while the placebo-dosed participants hewed to their own individualistic path. Oxytocin is great when you’re out with friends or solving a problem with coworkers. It might not be so great when you need to pick a leader or make some other big decision that requires independence, not conformity.
  • If a group of researchers in the Netherlands dosed you with oxytocin, you might find yourself developing a sudden affection for windmills, tulips, totally legal soft drugs and prostitution, and tall, blonde, multilingual bankers. You might also decide that the life of a Dutch person is more valuable than that of, say, a Canadian. That’s exactly what Carsten De Dreu found in 2011. His study was sternly criticized for overstating its effects—and yet it’s not the only one to find that oxytocin seems to make us really, really, really like our own groups, even at the expense of other groups.
  • The drug “soma” from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World probably contained some oxytocin. The two-minutes hate in Orwell’s 1984 probably got the oxytocin pumping as well.
  • We may like being part of a group so much that we’re willing to hurt others just to stay in it. The desire to belong can compromise our ethical and empathic instincts. That’s when the conscious mind needs to come online and put the brakes on the pleasures of social affiliation.
I particularly liked this conclusion that along the lines of every-virtue-is-also-vice:

“We do have to be in the right environment to be virtuous.” That might be the bottom line with oxytocin—and, indeed, any neural system that bonds us to other people: The impulse to join and conform in a group is always very strong in human primates, and so the key lies in choosing the right group—and then not getting carried away. 


    (with this naked man)

  2. Empaths' are so moody anyway. They will exclude those they do not understand and secretly fear they will jeopardise their mundane safe little lives.

    1. Old post but it would be necessary to exclude someone who does not exhibit similar personality traits in extremes such as being bonded with a sociopath, for instance. That would lead to emotional turmoil, which in turn leads to PTSD, which in turn could cause one to become depressed even suicidal and less capable of emotionally supporting ones children for instance. Self preservation is a natural human response and you sound like you're on the opposite end of the spectrum based on your reference to 'empaths'. It's not our own lives we actually fear jeopardizing, but the people that depend on us. You know so much about us, you should know we lay down our lives for them*

  3. Anyone knowledgeable in such matters will tell you, the only hope for
    possible reformation of character, is to REMOVE the person from
    the afflicting enviornment.
    If a person resides in dirty urban sqular and is removed from that
    condition he might blossom.
    Moreover, Oxyconten DOES serve a purpose. How else would
    caretakers tolerate dirty diapers and wives accept less then steller
    love making performances by beer belly husbands?

  4. If oxytocin both bonds you and makes you anxiously competetive and gloating during game playing, then it's the sociopath aphrodesiac,

  5. So would YOU, a sociopath, undergo regular oxyconten therapy?

    1. No. I might become a dog lover and sleep with livestock.

  6. I am not a sociopath, but I have a bit of an attachment problem, and I long to have two-way bonding.

    Sex will give me very nice bonding. I suppose if I ever wanted to bond with an invalid for some reason, it could replace what I could get from the sex? I dont fucking know. Might as well pavlovian dog it. Just do opiates together and stare at one another so eventually we associate one another with being high.

    **It is oxytocin, not oxyconten. Spelled with an i, oxycontin/oxycodone is a powerful narcotic prescribed for pain managment.

  7. "We may like being part of a group so much that we’re willing to hurt others just to stay in it. The desire to belong can compromise our ethical and empathic instincts."

    Like when a group tolerates destructive behavior by one sociopathic member because other members of the group don't want to disturb the group dynamic? Sounds like oxytocin helps sociopaths.

  8. It sounds to me like the idea of oxytocin being less present in Socipaths could very well be true. If you apply the idea that Oxytocin affirms moral interaction within ones social group (e.g. Family, friends, coworkers) and also affirms immoral interaction with people outside that social group you could explain why Sociopaths (with a proposed lack or deficiency of ocytocin) can choose to act in any manner around anyone.

    I also wanted to touch on the idea that Oxytocin causes us to trust, as well as not be gullible. I have come to the conclusion that I exhibit many sociopathic traits for a variety of reasons, and while this may not be a clinical diagnosis I have confidence in my ability to reflect on my actions (something I have learned to do since the idea that I could be a sociopath sprouted) and draw accurate conclusions. Anyway, I have serious trust issues. I don't trust anyone except myself, and even so I don't do that often. People who consider me a close friend have often expressed their problems with my lack of trust for them on a very deep level. On the other end of the spectrum I find that in many social situations I can be very gullible. I often find that someone will make a joke or say something about them self that I think is completely irrelevant to me and since I do not find the information they have just told me important whatsoever I'll believe it on blind faith (assuming that nothing changes the importance of this information at a later time). This has occurred enough to make me notice it and in most cases the person will tell me shortly after their lie, joke, etc. that they were in fact lying/joking/etc. I never take offense to this considering that the information was arbitrary, but it still occurs often, mostly with new people.

    Would M.E. or anyone agree that what I have described about myself could be considered gullible?

    1. There is a relationship between gullibility and attention deficit.

    2. XavierNR - Son of a SociopathNovember 17, 2016 at 12:41 AM

      Sociopaths are created through a specific path. If you've no idea what that path is, you're definitely NOT a sociopath. I'd never wish that path on ANYONE!

      Also.. Since you don't sound like a low functioner or a high functioner, I doubt you are a sociopath. Likely just ADD as mentioned above.

      What you're doing is bypassing information, it's very common, if not a leading symptom of ADD. You're missing information like social awareness, moods, expressions/body language and then putting together an answer with the little information you do have. It's not so much gullibility as it is ignorance. It's like having 1/10 of the clues and trying to solve a very hard riddle.

      The problem with this theory in relation to Sociopaths, while actually does explain it.. It's not very likely.. Sociopaths are not born.. Unlike Psychopaths. Psychopaths have empathy, what you also have is a switch for their emotions. Sociopaths don't have a switch usually, most don't have the lacking emotions at all, but they don't start out that way.. Sociopaths were normal before they were dumped on the path.

      That all said, I have a basic understanding of psychology, being someone with MPD and very interested in the body as a whole! So I can understand a sudden shock cutting a supply chain off.

  9. There is relationship between having an unmet need and being gullible, too. Sociopaths are masters at determining what you need in order to get you to bond with them so they can get what they need.

    1. I agree but then as a victim I also must admit I got more goodies than they did. I was blind to it at the time but for me the trade was more than fair.

  10.  It is very helpful for all the people on the web.I wanted to say that it's nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. |

  11. So, is oxytocin the most foundation to bond and to differentiate? So, it is a differentiate molecules and at same time bond, so bond-differentiate molecules. So, a baby has a bond, but wrong kind of bond as baby can differentiate by showing crying and focus something that is different between two. So, it is about right and high enough of oxytocin to have empathy. So, it is two column of right and wrong and two arrow that move at same time in opposite way for right and wrong. A baby has wrong oxytocin, so are psychopath and socialpath that needs to increase right bond, not wrong bond. So, if you have zero oxytocin then you can't bond and differentiate anything so you love everything that is self and other which it is all things and high oxytocin which you can bond to one thing that is too much and focus on one thing. So, oxytocin means to love and to differentiate. Zero oxytocin means to love but not to differentiate so it is equal same amount in all things. A baby and psychopath and socialpath love self since not hurt self and keep self in enjoyment, but hurt others. So, has wrong bond. Oxytocin is memory relate, not pshyical relate?? If something touch you and you feel pain, you don't like pain so you unbond something that touch you that cause you to feel pain, so you resist that something, but other something doesn't cause you pain but pleasure so you bond that something. So, it is visually-memory relate? If no Oxytocin, then you see something that is painful to you when touched, you don't remember and be touch again, so you feel pain, so there is no bond in memory to differitate in your mind, not something physical and visually. So, it is memory relate, that means a person with short term memory that is within 10 second, but not enough time to put in long term memory, so it is repeat physical reaction of what don't remember in memory, can't differitate in mind that is a bond. Differentiate of 10 second now to 10 second in past.

    It would be nice if there is a school for psychopathy and social path school so they can re-learn to love human and have higher empathy, well, higher so it becomes average or close to average empathy, it is better to have higher empathy. So, it is about environment and oxytocin that is important. The software that is outside with OS software that is in your brain. Since memory is connect to oxytocin which it is bond to something. Can't have zero bond or bond to everything, I guess you could have too much Oxycontin.


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