Dr. Love and one recipe for morality

Some thoughts I’d like to add:

First, I confirm my advanced degree of nerdiness when a full TED audience is listening and I’m the only person to laugh when he says: “I could do this experiment without learning neurosurgery”. Hello, people, he would have to cut into your brains!?

Second, include mirror neurons in the equation, and you’re closer to deciphering the biological mechanism that allows us to behave morally towards each other.

Third, just because it allows us, it doesn’t mean it will make us. And certainly not indiscriminately. Check Carsten de Dreu’s study on how oxytocin may promote human ethnocentrism.

Fourth, “5% of the population don’t release oxytocin on stimulus” – I wonder if that might be related to one possible etiology of sociopathy. Specially since just last month Levkowitz’s team published a paper stating that oxytocin participates in the formation of the neurohypophysis in the embryo (yeah, only in zebrafish for now, but there’s a reason they’re called “animal models”). If for some reason oxytocin is not doing its trick during fetal development, it’s no wonder their brains wind up wired differently. And how might that impact their mirror neuron systems and empathic capability? Never underestimate the power of (neuro)hormones!

Lastly, I’m definitely not getting my daily dosage of hugs. Since social media seem to also do the trick, maybe we should replace likes and stars for virtual hugs? So, if you’re reading this post and it doesn’t totally displease you, go ahead, send me a hug 😉


6 thoughts on “Dr. Love and one recipe for morality

  1. I love the post and the thoughts! It’s the founding principle of our blog that oxytocin and empathy require more thought–of any kind–and Dr. Zak is one of the people leading the way. If his research catches people’s attention (and a TED talk seems a great way to do it), I’m sure we’ll be seeing studies on oxytocin and antisocial personality disorder very soon.

    • Thank you! I find the interaction between hormones and behavior very fascinating and the latest research on oxytocin is very interesting indeed. Like you say, public awareness about oxytocin (or any other important aspect related to behavior, I might add) should be promoted. I’m only worried that most people focus too much on the headlines of more sensationalist media and come to believe that spraying someone with oxytocin will make them be nice or fall in love…

      There are already some studies focusing on oxytocin and behavioral disorders like autism or psychopathy… but since there’s still so much to be known about the neurohormone and also the diversity of those disorders can be so great that research seems to be merely in its infancy. Let’s wait and see.

      I’ll surely be checking your blog!

  2. I’m sending you virtual hugs to let you know that the only thing I understood from this post – and I might add it didn’t had a link – was “TED”. 🙂


    PS: I’ve just realized there’s a video as well! Google Reader didn’t show me that! 😦

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