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Research suggests the experimental manipulation of oxytocin facilitates positive interactions, cooperation, and trust. The mechanism by which oxytocin influences social behavior is not well understood.
We explored the hypothesis that oxytocin alters how people perceive themselves, which could be one mechanism by which oxytocin promotes prosocial behavior.
In a between-subject, randomized, and double-blind experiment, 100 university students received a 24 I.U. dose of intranasal oxytocin or placebo, and then completed the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and other self-report measures 90 min later.
Intranasal oxytocin increased ratings of NEO-PI-R extraversion and openness to experiences [F(1,98) = 4.910, p = .025, partial η (2) = .05; F(1,98) = 6.021, p = .016, partial η (2) = .06], particularly for the following facets: positive emotions (d = 0.48, p < .05), warmth (d = 0.47, p < .05), openness to values (d = 0.45, p < .05) and ideas (d = 0.40, p < .05), trust (d = 0.44, p < .05), and altruism (d = 0.40, p < .05). Oxytocin had no influence on ratings of negative emotionality, conscientiousness, rejection sensitivity, depression, worry, self-esteem, and perceived social support.
The administration of oxytocin improved participants' self-perceptions of their personality, at least for certain traits important for social affiliation. Increased positive self-referential processing may be one mechanism by which oxytocin promotes positive social behaviors.
Centre for Research in Human Development, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, QC, H4B 1R6, Canada.
This article was published in the following journal.
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Cell surface proteins that bind oxytocin with high affinity and trigger intracellular changes which influence the behavior of cells. Oxytocin receptors in the uterus and the mammary glands mediate the hormone's stimulation of contraction and milk ejection. The presence of oxytocin and oxytocin receptors in neurons of the brain probably reflects an additional role as a neurotransmitter.
The determination and evaluation of personality attributes by interviews, observations, tests, or scales. Articles concerning personality measurement are considered to be within scope of this term.
A nonapeptide hormone released from the neurohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, POSTERIOR). It differs from VASOPRESSIN by two amino acids at residues 3 and 8. Oxytocin acts on SMOOTH MUSCLE CELLS, such as causing UTERINE CONTRACTIONS and MILK EJECTION.
Carrier proteins for OXYTOCIN and VASOPRESSIN. They are polypeptides of about 10-kDa, synthesized in the HYPOTHALAMUS. Neurophysin I is associated with oxytocin and neurophysin II is associated with vasopressin in their respective precursors and during transportation down the axons to the neurohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, POSTERIOR).
A dissociative disorder in which the individual adopts two or more distinct personalities. Each personality is a fully integrated and complex unit with memories, behavior patterns and social friendships. Transition from one personality to another is sudden.