It seems that a number of different genetic variants of OXTR, the oxytocin receptor are present in the population of normal adults and researchers are beginning to tackle how, if at all, these changes impact the health and happiness of those who have them on board. They may drive:
- the amount of oxytocin required to induce labour [PMID 28456503]
- ADHD and social interactions [PMID 28478728]
- receptiveness to MDMA [PMID 26787430]
- dealing with grief [PMID 29353531]
- effective affective trolleyology [PMID 27497314]
- whether your dog loves you [PMID 28765081]
Within this our own species, oxytocin's effects are not indiscriminate. The standard research protocol in neuropeptide research is to spritz a solution of oxytocin up the punter's nose and then test them for implicit racism, or recognising and remembering the emotional state shown in a series of photographs. It turns out that a shot of oxytocin makes you bond more strongly with Us [family first, but also neighbours / people with the same tan as you] but brings out the worst in your assessment of black people [or travellers, if you're Irish]. In that sense oxytocin [and testosterone in a different but parallel tale] makes you more so of whatever your natural proclivities are. Some of your ways of being and interacting with others are genetic (OXTR variants?) but others are learned and that's a whole of can of nature / nurture worms. Sapoxytocsky in the classroom and bloke-talking with Joe Rogan.
As a black and white sorta bloke, I've had vasopressin nailed as having two quite different but weirdly related functions: 1) it causes smooth muscles of the arteries to contract 2) wearing its anti-diuretic hormone ADH cape it slows water loss through the kidneys. Both of these serve to drive up blood-pressure and ensure that your brain gets enough oxygen to work under a wide variety of [adverse?] circumstances. But that's not all! vasopressin, like its sister oxytocin, also modulates behaviour. In fine, it increases human risky cooperative behavior and probably a rake of other peculiar attributes of the human condition. SADHpolsky in the classroom; where inter alia he kites the idea that autism runs in families that have a particular vasopressin receptor variant which, in other species, correlates with low levels of attachment. As Sapolsky says - it has to be more complex than that; and it is. But ya gotta put a few ideas Out There if we're ever going to shake up our complacency and make some progress in science.