You may not realise it yet but the 21st century will be remembered as an era when we discovered how human beings actually work in terms of brain science.
That’s because we now have MRI scanners that can track every electrochemical change in the brain while we are thinking, emoting, deciding, suffering or just bonding to another human being. And photograph them.
The newest discoveries have focused on Oxytocin, a hormone that is manufactured in the Hypothalamus.
It used to be thought that all that Oxytocin was for was to ease birth contractions and release milk during breast-feeding.
We now know that it does a lot more than that. Indeed, it seems to be one of the key chemicals that Bodymind uses to cue feelings associated with nurturing children, learning to trust, and falling in love. People who experience surges in Oxytocin levels after the birth of a child develop powerful, and instinctive, bonds with their children. Oxytocin is also released during orgasm – which is one reason you should be choosy about your sexual partners.
Oxytocin is also used to create cellular memories about people with whom we have bonded before. We know that because a mouse low in oxytocin levels won’t remember other mice it has already mated with. Nor, I suspect, would it remember much about its offspring.
- It reduces anxiety in people with social phobias
- It helps people forgive and forget mistakes their partners have made
- It speeds up new friendships
- It increases pleasure during massage, foreplay and sex
- Some people are even predicting that Oxytocin could become another club drug!
In another article I will explain why Oxytocin injections may not be a good idea for some people.
What do you think?
Image by A_of_DooM