A spritz of oxytocin helps only socially inept men

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Researchers have found that nasal sprays of oxytocin, the bonding chemical naturally present during orgasms, make anti-social men empathetic but offer no help to men considered "socially proficient," or extroverts.

On September 20, a study by a team of researchers at the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM) and Columbia Univeristy, led by Jennifer A. Bartz, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at MSSM, was published online before print in the journal Psychological Science.

"Oxytocin is widely believed to make all people more empathic and understanding of others," said Bartz in a September 21 MSSM announcement.

This is supported by the first study to link oxytocin levels with empathy published in the April edition of Journal of Neuroscience detailing the results of 24 men who used a nasal spray and wept while viewing images such as a girl crying, as opposed to the group of men not sprayed.

However Bartz noted that her "study contradicts that. Instead, oxytocin appears to be helpful only for those who are less socially proficient," and hopes that "while more research is required, these results highlight the potential oxytocin holds for treating social deficits in people with disorders marked by deficits in social functioning like autism."

If you want to see if a spritz will make you "prosocial" or "weepy" you might want to stock up on Verolab's Liquid Trust (a two-week supply for $29.95/€22.63) made with water, alcohol and oxytocin, or the nasal spray OxyCalm ($19.95/€15 for a four-month supply).

A spray lasts two-to-four hours and can be sprayed on clothing to "create the environment within which you are more attractive to people you previously had no luck with." "Trust is relaxing and helps ease tension in the atmosphere," and "Trust plays an important emotional role in forming opinions about you, what you do, what you say and in whether they respect or value you," say the makers of Liquid Trust.

According to MSSM's clinical trials section, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "has not approved the use of Oxytocin when it is administered through a nasal spray; however, Oxytocin is approved when administered from a needle directly into a vein. The FDA has not approved Oxytocin for the use of improving social cognition."

Full study, "Oxytocin Selectively Improves Empathic Accuracy": http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/09/20/0956797610383439.full.pdf+html
Full study, "Oxytocin Enhances Amygdala-Dependent, Socially Reinforced Learning and Emotional Empathy in Humans": http://bit.ly/cUORMW