The point is that oxytocin is vital for the human brain to experience love, intimacy, trust, friendship and social bonding.
AIl but the most cynical souls would agree that such things are crucial for lasting happiness.
So, therefore, is oxytocin responsible for happiness?
Not quite. As with most things, oxytocin has a
down side. For instance, increasing your social
bonds with an individual or a group can increase
your hostility to anyone outside that bond. One
study found that men dosed with oxytocin were
much quicker to ascribe negative traits to anyone
not from their culture or ethnic background. Or,
to put it another way, oxytocin makes you racist.
If racism is integral to happiness, then I’m not
sure humans deserve it.
It doesn’t have to be so extreme though;
you’ve probably witnessed someone (or even
been that someone) experiencing bitter jealousy
and resentment, even hatred, when the object of
their affection is seen to interact in an overly
friendly way with someone else. The fact that
*crimes of passion» exist shows just how potent
and destructive this reaction can be. There are
many ways to describe someone gripped by
jealous rage or paranoid suspicion; happy» isn’t
one of them. Oxytocin may be crucially important
for social bonding, but not all social bonding
leads to happiness. It can, in fact, 1lead to the
Perhaps this whole approach is too far
removed? Pleasure and intimacy could be said to
lead to happiness, so any chemical that gives rise
to these things is only indirectly causing
Is there any chemical that makes us happy directly?