It has been found that the love hormone may act on a genetic level to bolster a life of social bonding in human beings.
The decreased activity of a gene may cause social bonding to undergo a change. It is healthy relationships we are concerned with here. Termed the OXT gene, it produces oxytocin which is linked with social behavior. It is also called the “love hormone”.
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A team of researchers gauged more than 120 people. Among the tests that got carried out were gene sequencing, social skills and the structural-functional settings of the brain.
Those individuals who had low functioning of the OXT gene tended to have difficulty recognizing emotions on the human physiognomy. They also tended to show anxiety regarding links with relatives and family members.
In other words, they weren’t at ease with their near and dear ones. The low OXT people also had deficiencies in the brain areas connected with social skills.
Their gray matter was also sparse in regard to facial processing and social thoughts. The tests proved that the OXT gene plays a crucial role in the social toolkit of mankind.
The social interactions of mankind involve such stereotypes as introversion and extroversion and well as how we handle adversity. The general social tendencies are something we inherit from our parents.
However, the magic ingredient of experience remains as the motivator of change in the individual. Nature and nurture take turns molding the individual into a well-rounded social animal.
Our rational choices as a responsible adult are dependent on our genetic makeup and the friction we have had with the environment. Especially the field of epigenetics plays a pivotal role in the whole process.
Oxytocin has been associated with among other things…trust, warmth, social harmony and nurturance. The environmental tool that brings about oxytocin release is termed methylation. It works at the level of the DNA, according to LATimes.
The methylation of the genes determines how the person takes social situations. There were various attachment styles linked with the least methylated genes. Oxytocin is produced by the hypothalamus in the brain.
This is the hormone that is released when a mother suckles her infant and when primitive men came home after a day of hunting. Looking into each other’s eyes also resulted in the release of this hormone.
Clearly the love hormone is involved in social functioning and socialization. It serves its purpose and that is the provision of the social glue that binds society into a well-knit fraternity.
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This study got published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.