My name is Hannah Goulding. My exhibit is based on the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is a peptide hormone that is involved in many of our emotional responses in day to day life and in many significant experiences such as childbirth. It is often referred to as the “love hormone” as it is linked to happiness, trust and empathy.
It plays a vital role in the emotional bond between a mother and her child. Increasing oxytocin levels can have many benefits such as reducing stress and anxiety, improve feelings of contentment, increase heart rate variability and elevate pain threshold. While oxytocin is said to have many positive impacts, it is also found that it is linked to negative emotions such as envy, distrust and racism.
Despite there being many links, there is still a lot of research to be done in proving that oxytocin is what causes happiness, trust and makes people fall in love. It is supposed that oxytocin doesn’t boost good feelings but rather amplifies what someone is feeling in that moment.
The hormone oxytocin is a topic that has interested me for some time now. Having come across the TED Talk “How your brain falls in love” by Dawn Maslar awhile back, the significant effects of oxytocin involved with this process really intrigued me.
When receiving the book “Aroused” by Randi Hutter Epstein and seeing the chapter about oxytocin, Oxytocin: That Lovin’ Feeling, I knew straight away that I would create my exhibit based on that topic. On reading this chapter, I discovered more of the ways in which oxytocin has a profound impact on our bodies, particularly for females during and after child birth.
My exhibit covers some of the many experiments carried out in order to understand many of the fascinating effects that oxytocin has during and after childbirth.