September 29, 2013
Oxytocin Makes Other Faces Look More Pleasant

Oxytocin speeds up facial recognition and makes us more prone to like a new face.

"Social bonding, mutual support, mate preference and parental investment," says Dr. Colonnello, "are all mediated by the oxytocinergic system, which is heavily reliant on a person's ability to appreciate that self and others are both different and valuable."

Participants in the study were shown videos of their own face morphing into an unfamiliar face and vice versa, and were instructed to press a button as soon as they felt that they saw more features belonging to the incoming face. Of the 44 participants, those given oxytocin before the task were significantly faster at identifying the new face, regardless of whether it was their own or that of a stranger.

The placebo-treated participants were also more likely to rate their own face as being more pleasant to look at than an unfamiliar face. The oxytocin-treated participants, on the other hand, rated both their own face and others faces as similarly pleasant.

Picture a future where everyone has been genetically engineered to like everyone else. Even older genetic designs could be fixed with gene therapy to the brain.

Other traits that the world AI (assuming it does not decide to wipe us out) will instruct its medical centers around the world to deliver as gene therapies whenever anyone needs medical treatment: greater conscientiousness, greater willingness to accept direction in work environments.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2013 September 29 09:55 PM 

destructure said at September 30, 2013 1:16 AM:

Oxytocin has been shown to increase caring for others. But it only works for one's "in group". It actually increases antipathy for "out groups". In other words, caring and compassion are an evolutionary group strategy that helps groups compete against others.

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