TED Conversations

Amélie Gourdon

Lecturer, Kingston University London


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Oxytocin, just a positive hormone?

I found Paul Zak's talk disturbingly blindsided me when I first watched it live in July. Recent research showed that at least oxytocin bounding properties have collateral effects which are not so positive. For example, by reinforcijng bounding, it increases preference for our ingroup and prejudice towards the outgroups (De Dreu, Greer, Van Kleef, Shalvi & Handgraaf, 2011).
You can read more about that study (and others regarding oxytocin) on Ed Yong's blog:


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    Nov 1 2011: Hi Debra,

    Sorry if I sound discouraged by the research on the dark side of oxytocin. I am discouraged by simplistic presentation of the state of research, and consequences of that such as people seeing oxytocin as a simple answer to psychopathy or autism.
    I love my fix of oxytocin, but I am also well aware that my bounding to my daughter makes me angry at people who gives her crap (even though my rational self explains to her that it is also part of life), and my love for my partner makes me sad when he has a problem and I cannot be next to him to comfort him.
    Oxytocin is complicated, and simplistic depiction when research is only starting is not helpful.

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