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Don't you wish your drugs were hot like Oxytocin?
June 24, 2008 6:50 AM   Subscribe

"Tests have shown that oxytocin reduces anxiety levels in users. It is a hormone that facilitates social contact between people."
posted by Brandon Blatcher (56 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I can't wait to make my first 'tocin buddy!
posted by norabarnacl3 at 6:53 AM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Restaurants, for instance, could spray a thin mist over customers to put them at ease. It could be used as a benign form of tear gas, quelling any violent feelings among groups of demonstrators, or even to prevent extramarital affairs.

Ok, I'm getting soma flashbacks here.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:55 AM on June 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


In my experience, restaurants already provide a chemical "that facilitates social contact between people." It's called alcohol.
posted by Plutor at 6:56 AM on June 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


In the future everyone can be a wet nurse!
posted by TedW at 6:56 AM on June 24, 2008


You could just jack that shit right in the vein and get seriously fucking friendly with some nice people over lunch.
posted by The Straightener at 6:59 AM on June 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Soma...
posted by a3matrix at 6:59 AM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Maybe groups of demonstrators should just decide on which restaurants they are going to meet at to avoid these embarrassing run-ins.

And seriously, this reminds me of coffee and beer. People always say "you'll LEARN to like it!" But I don't like it NOW, so what's the incentive to learn? Similarly, I already don't like hanging out with people. Maybe I would if I took it, but there's no incentive. (Of course, if I had a phobia, rather than an intense hatred of inane small talk that would be a different story.)
posted by DU at 7:00 AM on June 24, 2008


Last time I saw someone (my wife during delivery) being doped up with oxytocin, her anxiety level only increased.
posted by three blind mice at 7:03 AM on June 24, 2008


Of course, long term use of the stuff makes you deaf, so you'll have to shout your order at the waitstaff.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:04 AM on June 24, 2008


Hey! Me too!
posted by Jofus at 7:08 AM on June 24, 2008


Newsflash: This is not news. We in neuroscience have known this for decades.

A great big DUH to whoever wrote that.
posted by kldickson at 7:14 AM on June 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


It could be used as a benign form of tear gas, quelling any violent feelings among groups of demonstrators

1. Invent chemical to suppress violent/'bad' feelings.
2. Spray it on people
3. Reavers!
posted by slimepuppy at 7:14 AM on June 24, 2008 [30 favorites]


YES, I'D LIKE THE FRIES WITH THAT!
posted by tommasz at 7:16 AM on June 24, 2008


Here's how you write about scientific studies for broadsheet* newspapers:

1) Summary of findings copied more or less verbatim from press release.
"Scientists investigating oxytocin, a natural hormone that assists childbirth and helps mothers bond with newborn babies, believe it could become a wonder drug for overcoming shyness. Trials have found that oxytocin can reduce anxiety and ease phobias."

2) Misleading but still reasonable-sounding interpretation of that press release in laymen's terms.
"The potential uses of oxytocin could ultimately extend well beyond individual patients and into commercial environments. Restaurants, for instance, could spray a thin mist over customers to put them at ease. "

3) Increasingly outlandish and bizarre claims to fade.
"It could be used as a benign form of tear gas, quelling any violent feelings among groups of demonstrators, or even to prevent extramarital affairs."

Note: Removed from this article due to space constraints:
"...and snakes, many of which will be thousands of miles long will roam the planet, devouring everything..."

*For Daily Mail version of this story, follow steps 1-3 and insert headline including one or more of these words: Cancer. House Prices. Boffins. Immigrants.
posted by Jofus at 7:17 AM on June 24, 2008 [16 favorites]


Liquid Trust Spray sounds just completely horrifying. At least with something like Soma, you'd know when it had been administered.

I mean, think about it: "How will I ever get people to trust me? But of course! By drugging them without their knowledge!"
posted by Sys Rq at 7:19 AM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Spray it in restaurants!? I mean, I guess if the patrons are fully informed, it's sort of ethical.

Stupid fucking Times article doesn't mention that the hormone makes you more trusting -- credulous, even. I don't want merchants -- even restaurants -- manipulating my brain chemistry to sell me things.
posted by grobstein at 7:19 AM on June 24, 2008


Wow. I read that the first time as Oxy-CONTIN. And my first reaction was, well that's why all those hillbilles and Ruch Limbaugh like it so much...
posted by StandardObfuscatingProcedure at 7:21 AM on June 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Restaurants, for instance, could spray a thin mist over customers to put them at ease.

I hate it when they write stuff like this. Its like they are amateur science-fiction writers. What government would allow non-doctors to introduce a drug to a general audience? Heck, at least alcohol and nicotine are self-administered. Think of all the random people in a restaurant. Children, infants, sick people, mentally ill, people already on other medications, etc.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:24 AM on June 24, 2008


Restaurants Car dealerships, for instance, could spray a thin mist over customers to put them at ease make them more trusting and willing to sign on the dotted line.
posted by rocket88 at 7:33 AM on June 24, 2008


Here's how you write about scientific studies for broadsheet* newspapers

But how effective is oxytocin at quelling violent restaurant demonstrators expressed in units of "the size of Texas"?
posted by DU at 7:37 AM on June 24, 2008


I love you guys.
posted by Avenger at 7:42 AM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I loved that Time article. It was so full of hyperbole, it made my day. How can you not love lines like this:
"Researchers say it could provide a safe answer for millions of people who suffer from shyness without them having to resort to alcohol to overcome the problem"

Though 0.1% of the population probably isn't going to react well to the drug.

Humor aside, I wonder how they're going to determine what level of shyness is too much and whether making shy people really trusting is good in the general sense, the implications of something like LiquidTrust (see facilitates link) and does the damn drug even work (see people link) and if so, how well.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 AM on June 24, 2008


That Times article looks to be heavily dependent on maias's recent New Scientist article on the subject.

I suspect plagarism at work -- though plagarism of this kind is somewhat acceptable in the British media, rather than the terrible disgrace that American journalists consider it to be.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:49 AM on June 24, 2008


damn dirty ape: "Think of all the random people in a restaurant. Children, infants, sick people ..."

*Sprays damn dirty ape* There, there. There, there.
posted by Plutor at 7:50 AM on June 24, 2008


I read that the first time as Oxy-CONTIN.

Whoops. So did I. Please disregard my last comment.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:51 AM on June 24, 2008


The Democratic caucus has apparently been huffing this stuff for the past seven and a half years.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:52 AM on June 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


This warrants an obligatory link to a comic that made the rounds a while ago, but I can't find it right now so I'll just paraplagiaphrase the gist of it:

"I've found a way to make my girlfriend never leave me. Every night I wait until she's asleep and then I stick a nicotine patch on her body. Every morning, I get up early and remove it before she wakes up.

Now, she's addicted to me."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:57 AM on June 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: an intense hatred of inane small talk
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:10 AM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


My whole life has been crippled by my shyness. I would be all over this shit if it was shown to work.

Is there any way to boost your oxytocin levels without pills or letting a restaurant bathe you in a fine mist?
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:46 AM on June 24, 2008


Love is oxytocin. (Disclaimer: a friend of mine is involved in that web site and the T-shirts.)
posted by grouse at 8:52 AM on June 24, 2008


Yes, EatTheWeek. Having sex. Just sleep with someone, and you'll feel bonded to them for a little bit afterwards.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:57 AM on June 24, 2008


All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.

'Hug me till you drug me, honey;
Kiss me till I'm in a coma;
Hug me, honey, snuggly bunny;
Love's as good as soma.
posted by isopraxis at 9:02 AM on June 24, 2008


I object to this as it may reduce my social advantage as a natural extrovert.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:04 AM on June 24, 2008


If businesses start spraying this stuff around, it's because it will make people give them more money. Oxytocin makes you trust people more, whether or not you ought to.

This is really dangerous mind-controlling stuff that marketers and those that prey on others shouldn't be allowed near.
posted by MythMaker at 9:07 AM on June 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Just sleep with someone, and you'll feel bonded to them for a little bit afterwards.
Ah HA!
We'll see how the relationship goes now that I'm on to her cunning stunt!
posted by Floydd at 9:07 AM on June 24, 2008


cunning stunt

Thank you for introducing me to that excellent spoonerism.
posted by sixswitch at 9:24 AM on June 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


It could be used as a benign form of tear gas, quelling any violent feelings among groups of demonstrators

1. Invent chemical to suppress violent/'bad' feelings.
2. Spray it on people
3. Reavers!


I love you. Also, I think we are going to need some grenades.
posted by Tehanu at 9:34 AM on June 24, 2008


But can it also be made to give worms to ex-boyfriends?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:37 AM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


(Of course, if I had a phobia, rather than an intense hatred of inane small talk that would be a different story.)

You just said that, as an aside, in a freaking COMMENT ON METAFILTER.

Go have a cup of coffee or self-awareness, then come back and laugh along!
posted by rokusan at 9:47 AM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't want merchants -- even restaurants -- manipulating my brain chemistry to sell me things.

Fuck, I knew those "perfume-spritzing" terrorists at the entrances of department stores were not to be trusted.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:09 AM on June 24, 2008


Green-Eyed Monster - Cute. If I was having more sex, I'd hardly be having a shyness problem, now would I?
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:13 AM on June 24, 2008


Yikes, that came out snarkier than I meant it. Man, socializing is hard.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:16 AM on June 24, 2008


Note: Everyone needs a drug.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:52 AM on June 24, 2008


Eat the Weak,

Here's something simple you can play with:

When you want to approach someone, make a mental image of that person.

Notice where, in your mind's eye, the image seems to be.

Do you place the eye-level of your intended acquaintance at or above your own?

Try literally moving the image of that person down to the level of your knees-- do this really quickly, over and over again, so that eventually that person *feels* lower, and less intimidating.

Remember, you aren't in any way diminishing that person-- all you are doing is reducing the anxiety you associate with that person, and finding a perspective that allows you to comfortably interact... in a way that should enable both of you to feel more comfortable, feel more at ease, and have more fun, as you enjoy getting to know each other.
posted by darth_tedious at 11:06 AM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I saw a patent for a synthetic antagonist to oxytocin recently.

Coming soon to a military unit/ street gang/ sales force/ mercenary army near you.
posted by jamjam at 11:19 AM on June 24, 2008


I saw a patent for a synthetic antagonist to oxytocin recently.
Coming soon to a military unit/ street gang/ sales force/ mercenary army near you.


Because... um... that's something they need?
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 11:37 AM on June 24, 2008


Is there any way to boost your oxytocin levels without pills or letting a restaurant bathe you in a fine mist?

Yes, breastfeed a baby. You can actually feel the teensy doses hit your bloodstream at fairly regular intervals -- and it triggers the letdown reflex, so you can also feel an almost-simultaneous tingle in your chest from the "milk ejection reflex" as you start spraying milk like a water gun. Seriously!

And yes, I do know what oxytocin feels like (on a more massive scale, ahem) -- not to mention the synthetic oxytocin (pitocin) that was pumped into me for almost 24 hours in the hospital while my labor was being induced -- and this is definitely a very small version of the same stuff. But legal! (Oh God, does that make my kid my dealer?)

As for creating credulousness and artificial trust, though, I think we crunchy breastfeeding mommas are probably some of the most anti-corporate anti-advertising self/family-centered "bad consumers" you can think of, so I'm not really sure oxytocin sprays in stores are going to work that well as a sales tactic.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:56 PM on June 24, 2008


I think we crunchy breastfeeding mommas are probably some of the most anti-corporate anti-advertising self/family-centered "bad consumers" you can think of

That'd be why prams now resemble SUVs, toddlers are dressed in cutesy designer gear, and every household cleaning advertisement on TV features a baby crawling around on the floor.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:50 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're confusing the commercialization of Western motherhood with what I actually wrote: "crunchy breastfeeding mommas ". I seriously doubt there is an overlap between the moms who buy the $1000 Bugaboo strollers and the moms who breastfeed (or who make some attempt to do so). The latter are more likely to have their kids bundled into a homemade sling or fabric Mei Tai and forgo the stroller altogether.
posted by Asparagirl at 4:51 PM on June 24, 2008


Jonah Lehrer on the research.

That said, oxytocin hype is getting out of control. (Just today, Drudge linked to a lame article on how oxytocin can "cure" shyness. So can a six-pack.) It's become the neurotransmitter-of-the-month, the occult chemical that can make you more moral, romantic and outgoing. By the way, it's also a potential cure for autism. While there's been some really interesting research on oxytocin - I'm particularly enamored of the ultimatum game stuff - I think we're in danger of falling into what I'll call the serotonin trap. Remember when serotonin was the secret of happiness, the little molecule that, when elevated by an SSRI, could cure depression and make even healthy individuals happier? Well, that neat story is so incomplete it's wrong. I hope we don't make the same over-enthusiastic mistake with oxytocin.
posted by birdie birdington at 5:19 PM on June 24, 2008


You're confusing the commercialization of Western motherhood with what I actually wrote: "crunchy breastfeeding mommas"

uh, ok. i thought (almost) all mothers breastfed, not just the bohemian fringe. then again, i'm surrounded by hybrid hipster types, who use 16-wheel strollers with special compartments for yoga mats & refillable organic soy yoghurt containers.

gotta say though, i love the slings that african women use to carry their little ones around, in the smalls of their backs. the babies seem to spend their entire time sleeping. must be the warmth & the swaying motion from the walking.

posted by UbuRoivas at 5:30 PM on June 24, 2008


as said, it's been known for ages by psychologist and neuroscientists.

It's not a wonder chemical. most of it's effect IMO is from the slow behaviour conditioning associated with it and the generally pleasant situations you are exposed to it under, at an age where you are totally impressionable.

the rest of the article.. jeez.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 7:11 PM on June 24, 2008


We ought to worry about it. I linked to this above, but I'll quote for emphasis:
They were each asked to contribute money to a human trustee, with the understanding that the trustee would invest the money and decide whether to return the profits, or betray the subject's trust by keeping the profit.

The subjects also received doses of oxytocin or a placebo via a nasal spray.

After investing, the participants were given feedback on the trustees. When their trust was abused, the placebo group became less willing to invest. But the players who had been given oxytocin continued to trust their money with a broker.

"We can see that oxytocin has a very powerful effect," said Dr Baumgartner.

"The subjects who received oxytocin demonstrated no change in their trust behaviour, even though they were informed that their trust was not honoured in roughly 50% of cases."
^
To know that you've been betrayed and to not worry about it because you're full of oxytocin is something we ought to be concerned about.
posted by MythMaker at 7:18 PM on June 24, 2008


In other news, Diebold has released a new range of machines, which emit lovely bursts of air freshener to enhance the voting experience.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:23 PM on June 24, 2008


The thing about wearing it as a cologne, or spraying it in the sales floor is, it affects the sprayers just as much, if not more. So not only do you feel an emotional connection to your car salesman, and a desire to trust and help him, he feels the same way about you. This should make it a lot harder for him to rip you off.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:29 PM on June 24, 2008


To know that you've been betrayed and to not worry about it because you're full of oxytocin is something we ought to be concerned about.

Sounds like my last relationship.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:43 PM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


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