Discover the truth about the love hormone

Learn the truth about the love hormone

It was formerly believed that oxytocin, sometimes known as the “love hormone” directly caused human beings to experience empathy, trust, and happiness. But according to recent studies, oxytocin actually has a clarifying influence on existing emotions, suggesting that this oversimplification of its mechanism may be unwarranted. The use of oxytocin to treat autistic people may be affected by this, among other factors.

Intrigued? For more information about oxytocin, go through this gallery.

Introducing oxytocin

You’ve most likely heard of oxytocin, even if you don’t know what it is. Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” is a protein linked to trust and empathy.

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Where it’s from

The pituitary gland receives oxytocin from the brain, where it is created, and secretes it. It is well recognised to perform a variety of tasks.

What it does

Oxytocin, for instance, is crucial for female reproductive processes such as nursing and delivery as well as sexual activity.

It has social roles in both sexes, and for a very long time, scientists thought that oxytocin was directly in charge of pro-social behaviour.

The love hormone

According to conventional wisdom, oxytocin is released when oxytocin receptors are stimulated, and this results in sentiments of trust, empathy, and what we typically refer to as “love” in people.

Changing picture

However, evidence is accumulating suggesting this may be oversimplified and that oxytocin may have effects other than those associated with pro-social behaviour.

New ideas

Some researchers now believe that oxytocin only sharpens our understanding of social cues, allowing us to develop more precise social behaviour.

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It turns out it’s not as easy and uncomplicated as “oxytocin equals love,” according to neuroscientist Gül Dölen of John Hopkins University.

Scientific advancement

Researchers can now more closely monitor the neurons that generate oxytocin in the deep brain thanks to advancements in neuroscience technology.

Scientific advancement

Scientists have put together a picture of how oxytocin functions that is slightly different from prior theories because to advancements in study methods.

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Smell center experiment

Experiments on rats, for instance, revealed that oxytocin suppresses the nervous system’s loud, erratic firing of nerve cells in the brain regions responsible for scent.

Smell center experiment

As a result, if there is a real odour to be detected, its brain signals will stand out more because there won’t be any background noise to distract from them.

The takeaway

The lesson learned from this study, which was done on rats rather than humans, is that oxytocin may boost mental clarity.

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Helpful analogy

The clarifying impact on the brain has been helpfully described by Robert Froemke, a neuroscientist at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, with the use of an example.

I’ve got two tiny kids,” he remarked. Even when the baby is wailing from two rooms away, the air conditioner is on, and I am sound asleep, I immediately wake up and attend, my pupils fully dilated.

The reward system

This implies that animals may become less inclined to explore new areas of their surroundings and more inclined to concentrate on finding rewards.

Prairie voles

It has been demonstrated that this promotes pair bonding in prairie voles, for instance. The vole kind of gets hooked to its spouse since they are so rewarding by nature.

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Different contexts

The love hormone may have different effects in various circumstances if oxytocin’s function is to clarify social perceptions rather than to encourage social behaviour.

Maternal mice

Indeed, research on the social and antisocial behaviour of mother mice has supported this.

Maternal mice

Oxytocin has been demonstrated to boost the maternal care they feel for their young, but it has also been demonstrated to raise their degree of aggressiveness towards unfamiliar and scary mice.

Oxytocin treatment

Oxytocin has been shown to increase the maternal care that animals experience for their offspring but also to increase their level of aggression towards unfamiliar and frightening mice.

Changing minds

However, a recent large-scale clinical investigation revealed that oxytocin therapies don’t have any such observable impact.

Not suprising

This is hardly unexpected, a scientist claims, given that the experiment did not consider the environment in which the patient got the medication.


If a youngster is being bullied at school, for instance, oxytocin may serve to make the situation worse rather than better.

All in all

Therefore, it would appear that scientific understanding of how oxytocin functions is changing as a result of studies.

To remember

Nevertheless, it’s critical to keep in mind that oxytocin is now the sole element contributing to the sensation we refer to as “falling in love.”

Falling in love?

I’ll paraphrase Kozorovitskiy and ask: “Is oxytocin one of the several modulators that is mediating all those changes? Absolutely. Can we, however, entirely blame oxytocin? That’s clearly being simplified.


Who discovered love hormone?

American scientist Vincent du Vigneaud discovered oxytocin’s amino acid composition in the early 1950s and determined its amino acid sequence. The first polypeptide love hormone to be created was oxytocin, which was created in 1953 by du Vigneaud.

Is the love hormone real?

The brain produces the love hormone oxytocin, which the pituitary gland then releases into the circulation. Its primary purpose is to promote childbirth, which is one of the explanations for its nicknames, “love drug” and “love hormone.”

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Riya Kapoor

Riya Kapoor writes about lifestyle, entertainment, news and gadgets. She has been in this industry for almost 4 years now. She is a graduate from Delhi University with English Hons and had deep connection with writing since her childhood.

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