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Mice can thank a hormone for the memories

What's the difference between a normal mouse and a socially forgetful one, the latter a furry analogue of the party guest who asks someone's name for the fourth time?

The difference could be a small neuropeptide, say researchers in the July Nature Genetics.

Oxytocin, a hormone with a history of controversy (SN: 10/19/96, p. 246), may facilitate social recognition in mice but not other types of memory, the team concludes. Besides demonstrating two distinct mouse-memory systems, the finding bolsters evidence that oxytocin plays an important role in mammal behavior.

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