In an ongoing effort to put my life in order, I’ve been reading The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin, author of This is Your Brain on Music. On page 142 I found this:
“There’s a hormone in the brain released by the back half of the pituitary gland, oxytocin, that has been called by the popular press the love hormone, because it used to be thought that oxytocin is what causes people to fall in love with each other. When a person has an orgasm, oxytocin is released, and one of the effects of oxytocin is to make us feel bonded to others.”
And on the next page: “Music has been shown to increase oxytocin levels, especially when people listen to or play music together.”
This explains a lot. Now I know why I love the other guys in Delta Moon, and why by the end of a show I love every person in the audience.
But there’s more, on page 158: “Humans and other animals are often unselfish. Geese will come to the aid of one another at great personal risk; vervet monkeys broadcast alarm calls when predators are near, greatly increasing their own visibility to those predators, and meerkats stand guard for predators while the rest of their pack are eating. What is the neurochemical mechanism that supports this altruistic sentinel behavior? Oxytocin — the same social-affiliative hormone that increases trust and social cooperation among humans.”
What the world needs now is a lot more oxytocin.
And now you know how to make it….
(Photo by Arianna Ligi)