Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hormone oxytocin bolsters childhood memories of mom's affections

Date:
November 30, 2010
Source:
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers have found that the naturally-occurring hormone and neurotransmitter oxytocin intensifies men's memories of their mother's affections during childhood.

Researchers have found that the naturally-occurring hormone and neurotransmitter oxytocin intensifies men's memories of their mother's affections during childhood.
Credit: iStockphoto/Catherine Yeulet

Researchers have found that the naturally-occurring hormone and neurotransmitter oxytocin intensifies men's memories of their mother's affections during childhood. The study was published November 29 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers at the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai School of Medicine wanted to determine whether oxytocin, a hormone and neurotransmitter that is known to regulate attachment and social memory in animals, is also involved in human attachment memories. They conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial, giving 31 healthy adult men oxytocin or a placebo delivered nasally on two occasions. Prior to administering the drug/placebo, the researchers measured the men's attachment style. About 90 minutes after administering the oxytocin or the placebo the researchers assessed participants' recollection of their mother's care and closeness in childhood.

They found that men who were less anxious and more securely attached remembered their mothers as more caring and remembered being closer to their mothers in childhood when they received oxytocin, compared to when they received placebo. However, men who were more anxiously attached remembered their mothers as less caring and remembered being less close to their mothers in childhood when they received oxytocin, compared to when they received placebo. These results were not due to more general effects of oxytocin on mood or well-being.

"These results may seem surprising because researchers have assumed that the neuromodulator oxytocin has ubiquitous positive effects on social behavior and social perception in humans," said Jennifer Bartz, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and lead author of the study. "The fact that oxytocin did not make all participants remember their mother as more caring, but in fact intensified the positivity or negativity of the men's pre-existing memories, suggests that oxytocin plays a more specific role in these attachment representations. We believe that oxytocin may help people form memories about important social information in their environment and attach incentive value to those memories.

"However, we do not know whether oxytocin, when administered in drug form, increases a person's ability to accurately recall their mother's affections in childhood, or sets in motion a biased search for memories that support their more general beliefs about close relationships."

The ability to bond with our caregivers early in life has long been thought to be critical to survival because these bonds insure caregiver protection for the otherwise defenseless infant.

"We know very little about the biological mechanisms that support human attachment bonds, but understand that oxytocin regulates attachment in animals, and plays a specific role in forming social memories," said Dr. Bartz. "Our study suggests that oxytocin may similarly play a key role in human attachment by modulating these early memories of mom."

This research was funded by the Beatrice and Samuel A. Seaver Foundation. Additional study sites include Columbia University and McGill University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Hormone oxytocin bolsters childhood memories of mom's affections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101129152433.htm>.
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine. (2010, November 30). Hormone oxytocin bolsters childhood memories of mom's affections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101129152433.htm
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Hormone oxytocin bolsters childhood memories of mom's affections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101129152433.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins