The Reward System includes Vasopressin and Oxytocin
Doctor Larry Young discusses how vasopressin and oxytocin contribute to the reward system, which can promote behavior such as bonding and drug addiction.
One of the areas that we know is really important in terms of the social bonding in prairie voles is the nucleus accumbens and its output the ventral pallidum. These are two areas that are part of the brainâ€™s reward circuitry. They are critically involved in things like addiction, so itâ€™s not surprising that they may also be involved in the social bond formation; maybe a social bond is very similar to an addiction. In the prairie voles oxytocin acts in the nucleus accumbens where there are lots of receptors to promote that pair bonding. It actually acts to activate the reward circuitry so that the social interaction itself becomes very pleasant and the individual associates that pleasant, rewarding aspect of the social interaction with the particular individual that they are interacting with, so that in the future they want to be with that individual. Itâ€™s sort of a self perpetuating process that draws the animals into a stronger and stronger bond. Oxytocin is acting in females to promote that bond in the nucleus accumbens. In males vasopressin is acting in the ventral pallidum, which is just below the nucleus accumbens [and is] part of the same circuitry. In both cases, the males and the females, you have these two molecules acting in the same circuitry to promote this behavior, which has remarkable parallels to addiction.
nucleus accumbens, ventral pallidum, globus pallidus, prairie voles, reward, social interaction, oxytocin, vasopressin, larry, young
Doctor Larry Young discusses his research with prairie voles and suggests that the same neurobiological processes may underlie drug addiction and bonding.
Doctor Larry Young explains that social personality traits are influenced by levels of oxytocin and vasopressin in the brain.
Doctor Larry Young explains that the genes that encode for vasopressin receptors can predict social behaviors. This intriguing finding makes the link between genes, the brain and behavior.
Doctor Larry Young discusses that he believes there is a biological basis to love.
Doctor Thomas Insel continues his discussion of the two neuropeptides, vasopressin and oxytocin.
Doctor Larry Young discusses how dopamine and oxytocin interact in the reward and reinforcement parts of the brain to help form social bonds.
Doctor Abraham Zangen discusses the key structures underlying the brain reward system, a complex neural network that includes the nucleus accumbens and hippocampus.
Doctor Larry Young discusses evidence of a relationship between oxytocin and autism, speculating that oxytocin may be used to treat autism.
Doctor Larry Young explains that the experience of being in love activates pleasure centers in the brain, and comments that bonding in prairie voles may be similar to humans.
Doctor Larry Young discusses how taking oxytocin may increase trust and affect social abilities in humans. This may be a future treatment for autism.