Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Love hormone' oxytocin carries unexpected side effect

Date:
January 22, 2014
Source:
Concordia University
Summary:
Some psychologists are keen to prescribe oxytocin off-label, in order to treat mild social unease in those who don't suffer from a diagnosed disorder. Not such a good idea, say researchers.

The love hormone, the monogamy hormone, the cuddle hormone, the trust-me drug: oxytocin has many nicknames. That's because this naturally occurring human hormone has recently been shown to help people with autism and schizophrenia overcome social deficits.

Related Articles


As a result, certain psychologists prescribe oxytocin off-label, to treat mild social unease in patients who don't suffer from a diagnosed disorder. But that's not such a good idea, according to researchers at Concordia's Centre for Research in Human Development. Their recent study -- published in Emotion, a journal of the American Psychological Association -- shows that in healthy young adults, too much oxytocin can actually result in oversensitivity to the emotions of others.

With the help of psychology professor Mark Ellenbogen, PhD candidates Christopher Cardoso and Anne-Marie Linnen recruited 82 healthy young adults who showed no signs of schizophrenia, autism or related disorders. Half of the participants were given measured doses of oxytocin, while the rest were offered a placebo.

The participants then completed an emotion identification accuracy test in which they compared different facial expressions showing various emotional states. As expected, the test subjects who had taken oxytocin saw greater emotional intensity in the faces they were rating.

"For some, typical situations like dinner parties or job interviews can be a source of major social anxiety," says Cardoso, the study's lead author. "Many psychologists initially thought that oxytocin could be an easy fix in overcoming these worries. Our study proves that the hormone ramps up innate social reasoning skills, resulting in an emotional oversensitivity that can be detrimental in those who don't have any serious social deficiencies."

As Cardoso explains, "If your potential boss grimaces because she's uncomfortable in her chair and you think she's reacting negatively to what you're saying, or if the guy you're talking to at a party smiles to be friendly and you think he's coming on to you, it can lead you to overreact -- and that can be a real problem. That's why we're cautioning against giving oxytocin to people who don't really need it."

Ultimately, however, oxytocin does have the potential to help people with diagnosed disorders like autism to overcome social deficits.

But, says Cardoso, "The potential social benefits of oxytocin in most people may be countered by unintended negative consequences, like being too sensitive to emotional cues in everyday life."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Concordia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christopher Cardoso, Mark A. Ellenbogen, Anne-Marie Linnen. The Effect of Intranasal Oxytocin on Perceiving and Understanding Emotion on the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT).. Emotion, 2013; DOI: 10.1037/a0034314

Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "'Love hormone' oxytocin carries unexpected side effect." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122112626.htm>.
Concordia University. (2014, January 22). 'Love hormone' oxytocin carries unexpected side effect. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122112626.htm
Concordia University. "'Love hormone' oxytocin carries unexpected side effect." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122112626.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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