Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oh, oxytocin!

The New York Times ran an article covering neuroscientist Larry Young's explanation of human love and describing one of my favorite scientific anecdotes of all time, that of the prairie vole and the effect of oxytocin on its ability to form pair bonds. (Suppressing the normally monogamous prairie vole's oxytocin absorption impaired its ability to form bonds with its partner. Compare to the polygamous meadow vole, which had different receptors and therefore do not form such bonds.) As a rather unromantic realist who is fascinated by the idea of love as a chemical addiction between two people, I am pleased that these ideas are entering into the mainstream.

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