Oxytocin Focuses Attention on Social Cues: A Mixed Blessing

Researchers from McMaster University find that oxytocin directs attention toward socially relevant stimuli, increases social motivation and guides social decision making in a highly social fish: the Daffodil chichlid. Rather than simply stimulate affectionate behavior, as has often been portrayed in the media, addition of the hormone augmented behavior contextually; chichlids were more attentive to the size of opponents, for instance, and more likely to adopt a submissive posture.

Abstract →

Reddon, A., O’Connor, C., March-Rollo, S., Balshine, S.;Effects of isotocin on social responses in a cooperatively breeding fish. Animal Behaviour
Volume 84(4) October 2012, 753–760

Of related interest:
Not a hug hormone – fish version of oxytocin acts as social spotlight

***

Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.