Calvin Smith, Craig Holmes
|The team:||Calvin Smith and Craig Holmes|
We are first year analytical chemistry students. The topic of our exhibit is on oxytocin, focusing on the social aspect of the hormone. The content we will be talking about in the exhibit is the social aspect of the “love drug”, in particular it’s influence on social learning, stress management as well as the mental health benefits it can have.
Regarding the social effects oxytocin can have, it may cause an increase in our trust of others as well as stimulating the receptors in the brain for social interactions and development. When looking at the effects it has on stress it can regulate the levels of cortisone, which is the stress hormone, this decreases the build-up of stress we have.
What we were really interested in was the effects it has on mental health, in particular its effects on autism and social anxiety. It is believed that oxytocin helps to stimulate the part of the brain in charge of social development which helps to teach a person social cues and behaviour in interpersonal situations. This in turn will increase the social levels of a person.
The main reason we decided to do this exhibit is because we were extremely interested on the social aspect the hormone has on people with autism and social anxiety. This is because we experience some of the effects these disorders have.
Though it originally seemed that oxytocin could have a wonderous effect on many of these problems, a more recent study released by Gail A. Alvares, Daniel S. Quintana and Andrew J.O. Whitehouse shows little evidence on people suffering from the autism and social disorders. This is due to them not being sure on the exact dosage to use nor the best method of administration.
From reading the book called “Aroused” by Randi Hutter Epstein, we were really interested in the different effects hormones had on our bodies. But from reading the book we were most interested on oxytocin as when we read about it and we discovered it can help some of the effects it has on social disorders.
Craig: Calvin was really intrigued about this as he has Asperger’s and social anxiety, so when he heard about it having a benefit on social cues and social learning, he looked into it more and found it to be an interesting topic to make an infographic about, especially since it is a lesser-known effect of oxytocin.
As I am someone who has experienced a lot of stress from college work and other external factors, the effects oxytocin has on stress really caught my eye. For example, just small acts like petting my dog or going outside for a walk can help manage my stress levels as these actions release oxytocin, which helps to regulate cortisone.
Calvin: This chapter of “Aroused” called “Oxytocin – the love hormone” was one of the most interesting in the book not just for the social aspect but it also brought new information to both Craig and I, such as the significant role it plays in the love a goat with its kid as well as several other animals. It also plays a role in prairie voles mating for life but meadow voles having multiple partners.