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Oxytocin: The Dark Side Of Power - Research, Quality Of Life
Oxytocin: The Dark Side Of Power - Research, Quality Of Life

Video: Oxytocin: The Dark Side Of Power - Research, Quality Of Life

Video: Oxytocin: The Dark Side Of Power - Research, Quality Of Life
Video: The Dark Side of Oxytocin | The Hormone of Love... and Racism | BRAIN SNACKS 2023, March

Despite the fact that oxytocin has received such names as "love hormone" and "happiness hormone", it also has a "dark side". Manifestations of excess oxytocin can be observed in lactating women, in couples in love, in sects, as well as in some men with low testosterone

Many "dark" features of oxytocin are actively used by propaganda: to unite (oxytocin grows) is called only against someone (aggression). Therefore, when you want to completely dissolve in other people (family, friends, sect, etc.), be careful and maintain boundaries.

Yes, fusion is often enjoyable, but overdose can cause serious side effects


1. Decreased cognitive ability

Some learning and memory functions are impaired after oxytocin use. Physiologists even call oxytocin the amnestic hormone, the "forgetfulness hormone." Oxytocin inhibits the ability to remember and recall previous experiences. It reduces the level of anxiety, but at the same time weakens motivation, because some level of anxiety is required to motivate.

2. Aggression towards "strangers"

Scientists have found that oxytocin strengthens interpersonal ties within groups, but provokes rivalry and antagonism between groups (including interethnic conflicts). Oxytocin enhances the desire to defend its own people and can stimulate the delivery of "pre-emptive strikes" against outsiders in order to protect against possible aggression on their part.

It is believed that altruism in humans was originally directed only at members of their group and developed in conjunction with hostility to outsiders. Such altruism is called "parochial", that is, local, narrow, aimed exclusively at one's own people. Parochial altruism today remains a very characteristic feature of the human psyche and behavior.

Military exploits and the actions of suicide bombers are typical examples of this behavior. Oxytocin, however, does not make people want to harm strangers "just like that", without any benefit for themselves, and does not stimulate aggressive acts based on selfish motives. In other words, it can provoke "defensive" but not "offensive" aggression (unlike testosterone).

Oxytocin affects the response of a member of a certain group to a member of another group. Intra-group favoritism appears in small groups; but it can also spread to a large group (for example, an entire country, leading to civic unity).

It is assumed that xenophobia may also be due to this hormone. The media has a simple way to manipulate: you need to create an identity of "friends", then intimidate you, and you are already ready to hit first, thinking that this is "protection".

3. Strengthening negative emotions

After intranasal administration of oxytocin, feelings of envy and malevolence increase. Gloating is especially pronounced towards "strangers" - it is savoring the grief of other people, which becomes more urgent than their own problems. If someone has offended you, and I, together with you, condemn the offender and slander him, the illusion arises that I take care of you.

By taking your side and criticizing your opponent, I stimulate the production of oxytocin in both you and my body. Therefore, people (often with a deficiency of testosterone and dopamine) tend to group together and exclude someone from their circle, discussing something and thus stimulating the production of oxytocin.

4. Disinhibition of behavior

Oxytocin and alcohol act on different receptors in the brain, but their effect is very similar. It is possible that both alcohol and oxytocin act on the work of the important inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which affects our sensitivity to stress, our level of anxiety.

And especially in situations that cause excitement - for example, when passing an interview. True, oxytocin, just like alcohol, can not only reduce feelings of fear and anxiety, but also provoke a person to rash actions, cause aggressive, asocial, risky behavior.

5. Excessive gullibility

Oxytocin administration can be harmful because gullibility can become excessive. A person becomes less generous (trusting) after his trust has once been deceived.

But in men who have oxytocin instilled into their nose, this does not happen: they continue to blindly trust their partner even after he has "betrayed" them. The neurological mechanism of action of oxytocin is also beginning to become clear: it turned out that it suppresses the activity of the amygdala. Apparently, this leads to a decrease in distrust (people cease to fear that they will be deceived).

6. Increasing suggestibility

The subjects with the introduction of oxytocin increased hypnotizability from a low level to an average. Most likely, oxytocin increases the degree of confidence in the hypnotist.

Earlier, Bryant and his colleagues at the University of New South Wales in Sydney demonstrated that after inhaling nebulized oxytocin, volunteers are not only more easily affected by the hypnotist, but also more likely to agree to actions that can cause psychological awkwardness: swearing, dancing, etc. P.

7. Increased hostility

If a person has mental problems, then oxytocin only aggravates their manifestations. For example, in studies, players with BPD were more likely to leave the game early after being given an oxytocin spray. That is, the hormone increased the already high level of hostility and suspicion towards the partner. Mentally healthy people, on the other hand, showed greater compliance after a dose of oxytocin.

Additionally, research has shown that a single dose of oxytocin, in certain contexts, can make them more aggressive towards outsiders and rivals. And in patients with borderline personality disorder, oxytocin interferes with the formation of trust and cooperation.

8. Increased number of lies

The team found that elevated blood oxytocin levels make people more likely to lie in the best interests of the group, while their honesty remains the same when it comes to personal interests. The results of the work were published in the journal PNAS.

The researchers concluded that elevated oxytocin levels increase the likelihood that a person will lie if the lie benefits the group, but for himself personally prefers to remain honest. Moreover, those who received a dose of oxytocin answered the question faster, that is, they thought about their answer less time.

9. Increased anxiety (negative social memory)

Oxytocin reinforces negative social memory and anxiety for the future, giving rise to the so-called ERK signaling pathway, which is activated six hours after negative social events. ERK enhances fear by stimulating fear brain circuits. In other words, not only love, but also anxiety is generated by the neuroconductor called oxytocin.

Genetically modified rats (with excess oxytocin receptors) show a stronger fear response to stress. Oxytocin enhances aversive social memory, which allows rats to show a more vivid fear response when the aversive stimulus is encountered again. That is, the more often people with high oxytocin are frightened with some kind of "fear", the more they will be afraid of it.

10. Suppression of testosterone production

Testosterone is an important hormone in both men and women. It stimulates "individual", "competitive" behavior, as opposed to "community" oxytocin. In addition, testosterone makes a person more honest, more rational, more sexual (applies to both men and women). Oxytocin is responsible for reciprocal behavior, while testosterone, on the contrary, pushes men (primarily men) to selfish behavior.

A typical picture of a low testosterone oxytocinated person:

  • low cognitive abilities,
  • passion to belong inseparably to a certain group, to "ours",
  • hatred of "strangers"
  • aggression,
  • negative emotions,
  • schadenfreude and envy,
  • disinhibited behavior,
  • excessive gullibility
  • increased suggestibility,
  • hostility,
  • deceit,
  • anxiety,
  • low libido and competitiveness.

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