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Oxytocin and Monogamous Relationships. Caitlyn Kendrick Neha Verma Andrew Darvin Vincent Abiona. What is Oxytocin?. Oxytocin is a hormone released from the posterior pituitary gland

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oxytocin and monogamous relationships

Oxytocin and Monogamous Relationships

Caitlyn Kendrick


Andrew Darvin

Vincent Abiona

what is oxytocin
What is Oxytocin?
  • Oxytocin is a hormone released from the posterior pituitary gland
  • Oxytocin plays an important role in the formation of monogamous relationships, as well as in the levels of trust and attachment within these relationships.  
  • The release of oxytocin is related to affiliative behaviors between members of a monogamous pair.  
investor game
Investor Game
  • Experiment
    • Experimental group received intranasal dose of oxytocin, while control group received placebo
    • Measured trust through an investing game
  • Results
    • Members of experimental group were more likely to trust their investing partners
  • Implications
    • Among humans, there is a correlation between oxytocin and trust within interpersonal interactions
cichlid fish
  • Experiment
    • Treated males with oxytocin receptor antagonist during pair bond formation
    • Observed: Affiliative behavior toward mate; Aggression toward neighbors
  • Results
    • Affiliative behavior toward mate and aggression toward neighbors were reduced in experimental males
  • Implications
    • Oxytocin is important in the formation of a monogamous pair bond
    • Oxytocin can be thought of as a “building block” for a monogamous relationship
  • Picture from: http://thenewaquaristfish.blogspot.com/
voles experiments
Voles Experiments
  • Hypothesis: Varying density of oxytocin receptors in certain areas of brain impact partner preference formation
    • Focused on Nucleus Accumbens
    • Prairie Voles-6 hour/12 hour cohabitation periods
    • Meadow Voles-24 hour/48 hour cohabitation periods
    • Three-Chambered Apparatus
  • Findings:
    • Prairie Voles-Significantly more pair bonding after 12 hour cohabitation
    • Meadow Voles-No significant differences in pair bonding
  • Implications:
    • Oxytocin and receptor density play role in partner preference formation, but are not only factors

Picture from: http://www.anxietyinsights.info/how_stress_flips_the_brain_between_desire_and_dread.htm

tamarins monogamous relationships
Tamarins Monogamous Relationships
  • Experiment
    • Test tamarins urine to measure oxytocin levels
    • Observed affiliative behaviors
  • Results
    • The tamarins in a monogamous relationship had higher oxytocin levels than polygamous tamarins
    • Correlation between partners
  • Implications
    • The higher levels in monogamous partners could explain happiness
    • Better in tune to partners needs
    • Good relationships mean higher oxytocin and vice versa
  • Picture from: http://pixdaus.com/single.php?id=61836
  • There is a correlation between oxytocin levels/oxytocin receptor levels and behavior and trust, as demonstrated in the experiments studied
    • High levels of oxytocin and receptors correlated with more trust and partner preference formation
    • Lower levels of oxytocin were connected to less trust and polygamous relationships