Hormone spray to make shy people more sociable

Washington: A nasal spray could help shy or introverted individuals to be more confident at first dates, job interviews or Christmas cocktail parties, which could otherwise can be stressors for them.

A new research from Concordia University has found that an intranasal form of oxytocin can improve self-perception in social situations.

Oxytocin, a hormone naturally released following childbirth or during social bonding periods, has recently been investigated for its impact on social behaviours.

“Our study shows oxytocin can change how people see themselves, which could in turn make people more sociable,” said senior author Mark Ellenbogen, Canada Research Chair in Developmental Psychopathology at Concordia University and a member of the Centre for Research in Human Development.

“Under the effects of oxytocin, a person can perceive themselves as more extroverted, more open to new ideas and more trusting,” he stated.

For the study, some 100 men and women, between the ages of 18 and 35, (who do not take medication, suffer from a current or past mental disorder and use recreational drugs or smoke cigarettes) were recruited.

Participants inhaled oxytocin from a nasal spray and completed questionnaires on how they felt 90 minutes later.

Participants were evaluated for neuroticism, extraversion, openness to new experiences, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

“Participants who self-administered intranasal oxytocin reported higher ratings of extraversion and openness to experiences than those who received a placebo,” according to first author Christopher Cardoso, a graduate student in the Concordia Department of Psychology.

“Specifically, oxytocin administration amplified personality traits such as warmth, trust, altruism and openness,” he said.

The finding has been published in the journal Psychopharmacology.


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