Hormones do crazy things, they aid in one’s development and play a significant role in the things we do. But what if I told you the same hormone that is used to produce breast milk can also help you remember happy faces?
Evidence has shown that the hormone oxytocin plays a role in maternal behaviors and social bonding. A new study by Adam J. Guastella, Ph.D. and his colleagues has shown that this same hormone is also responsible for the enhancement and encoding of positive social memories. In a double-blind study, they compared Healthy males who were given either oxytocin or a placebo.The participants then were given faces showing different emotions and returned the next day to pick out the photos of those they recognized from the previous day. Participants that were administered oxytocin were more likely to remember the faces of those that were happy as compared to other emotions. Dr. Guastella reported, “findings are exciting because they show for the first time that oxytocin facilitates the encoding of positive social information over social information that is either neutral or negative.”
This study has many applications in our society, including a possibility for oxytocin to help those that are socially isolated make stronger social connections. While more research needs to be done, this study has made a breakthrough discovery that may help individuals suffering from several psychiatric disorders.