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Falling in love: is oxytocin the magic spark?

Koopmans, M.S. (2011) Falling in love: is oxytocin the magic spark? Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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People who are in love seem to be absent-minded and sometimes even behave like children. What in the brain causes these romantic feelings and do animals have similar feelings? Comparable to humans, monogamous relationships are also seen in several animal species. To examine what causes pair-bonding, researchers observed partner-preference tests and found out that in prairie voles oxytocin and arginine vasopressin (AVP) emerged as important mediators of partner-preference formation. More recent studies revealed an even more general role for oxytocin in modulating affiliative behavior in both sexes. They also discovered an important interaction of dopamine and the reward system with the oxytocin system concerning partner-preference, as mating induces elevated oxytocin levels and dopamine release in the NAcc of prairie voles. A possible explanation for the fact that there are also non-monogamous vole species with the combination of CSF oxytocin and dopamine, is that in non-monogamous species the dopamine system and the oxytocin/AVP systems probably are uncoupled due to the low densities of oxytocin receptor/ vasopressin 1a receptor in this pathway. Nevertheless, more research has to be done to fully understand the cooperation between these neural systems. Untill now the only concluding thing to say is that humans and animals all have a similar biological mechanism when it comes to pair-bond formation.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:46
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:46

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