Oxytocin may help people move on after betrayal
Once bitten, twice shy, unless your brain is flooded with oxytocin.
Swiss researchers have shown that the hormone first discovered for its role in labor and lactation also helps people learn to trust again after betrayal. The hormone has been linked to trust before, but the new study, published in the May 22 Neuron, is the first to demonstrate that oxytocin works on a brain region involved with fear processing and areas involved in anticipating reward and resolving conflict.
“When trust has been broken, something has to allow you to move on with your life and learn to trust again,” says Mauricio Delgado, a cognitive neuroscientist at RutgersUniversity in Newark, N.J. That something is oxytocin.
The chemical is important in being able to balance forgiving and forgetting with learning from mistakes, he says.
Researchers led by Thomas Baumgartner at the University of Zurich in Switzerland gathe