The Love Hormone's Dark Side

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, love is in the air. Or is it oxytocin? Research suggests that the so-called "love hormone" isn't all roses and heart-shaped chocolates.

Oxytocin is marketed as an all-purpose "love drug" year-round. Online, sellers shill a product called "liquid trust" that purports to contain oxytocin and promises to create an "environment within which you are more attractive to people you previously had no luck with." In San Antonio, Texas, at least one doctor prescribes dissolvable oxytocin strips for husbands and wives going through rough patches, according to a Feb. 10 news report by local news station KENS5. Even cultural and political commentators have touted oxytocin's effects, arguing that the hormone makes no-strings-attached sex impossible, especially for women.

Personal Growth

The life choices that had led me to be sitting in a booth underneath a banner that read “Ask a Philosopher" – at the entrance to the New York City subway at 57th and 8th – were perhaps random but inevitable.

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For thousands of years, humans slept in two shifts. Should we do it again?

Researchers believe that the practice of sleeping through the whole night didn’t really take hold until just a few hundred years ago.

The Bed by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Surprising Science

She was wide awake and it was nearly two in the morning. When asked if everything was alright, she said, “Yes.” Asked why she couldn’t get to sleep she said, “I don’t know.” Neuroscientist Russell Foster of Oxford might suggest she was exhibiting “a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern." Research suggests we used to sleep in two segments with a period of wakefulness in-between.

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'Self is not entirely lost in dementia,' argues new review

The assumption "that without memory, there can be no self" is wrong, say researchers.

Photo credit: Darren Hauck / Getty Images
Mind & Brain

In the past when scholars have reflected on the psychological impact of dementia they have frequently referred to the loss of the "self" in dramatic and devastating terms, using language such as the "unbecoming of the self" or the "disintegration" of the self. In a new review released as a preprint at PsyArXiv, an international team of psychologists led by Muireann Irish at the University of Sydney challenge this bleak picture which they attribute to the common, but mistaken, assumption "that without memory, there can be no self" (as encapsulated by the line from Hume: "Memory alone… 'tis to be considered… as the source of personal identity").

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