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E. A Biological Basis for Human Bonding

Narrator: This is Science Today. A hormone well known for inducing labor may also influence human attachment and bonding. Rebecca Turner, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco says previous studies have shown a bonding behavior in animals. So the question is, can oxytocin influence human emotion and behavior?

Turner: The reason we ask that question is because there are oxytocinergic neurons throughout the brain and the limbic system, which is responsible for emotion and in autonomic centers that control emotion.

Narrator:In a carefully monitored study of twenty-six women, researchers did find oxytocin levels were associated with the ability to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships.

Turner: I think one of the applications of this work is in the area of psychopathology. If this hormone is involved in the ability to seek pleasure from relationships, then maybe it's something that can be used in treatment.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.