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Prosocial Behaviour Notes

Psychology Notes > Individual Differences (2nd year) Notes

This is an extract of our Prosocial Behaviour document, which we sell as part of our Individual Differences (2nd year) Notes collection written by the top tier of Durham University students.

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Prosocial behaviour
ROMANTIC AND PATERNAL LOVE
Genetic studies
Lim et al., 2004: found that overexpression of vasopressin V1AR gene in the ventral pallidum increased partner preference behaviour (huddling together) in the meadow vole, this effect was not generalized to strangers  same region in humans is tied to variation in satisfaction/quality of relationships
Walum et al., 2008: found that M carrying allele 334 of VAS receptor 1a gene  men are less likely to get married, or marriage is of poorer quality - significant but modest effect
 Men reported less strong bonding and martial crisis
 Partners reported feeling that the relationship was of lower quality, feeling less affection
 No significant effects for female polymorphisms of AVPR1a gene - vasopressin expression is important in males prosocial behaviour
 May underestimate the effect of the 334 allele as this study was carried out on couples together for >5years
 Other factors may influence success of marriage e.g. culture, religion etc.
  ind diffs in romantic partnership in part due to vasopressin gene

NT studies
ANIMALS
Carter, 1992: OXT is important in maternal behaviour and mother-infant bonding in sheep
Young et al., 2011: prairie voles display monogamous behaviour and biparental care, while meadow voles are typically polygamous and solitary. Prairie vole behaviour can be linked to oxytocin gene expression as prairie voles have more oxytocin receptors in their nucleus accumbens, caudate and putamen, and PFC than meadow voles
Ross and Young, 2009: used the partner preference test and infused oxytocin receptor antagonist into three different oxytocin receptor rich areas.
Control groups preferred mating partner over a stranger, but the antagonist enough to block this preference.
Therefore, oxytocin receptors in these areas are required for normal pair bonding
 variations in humans predicts female romantic displays of behaviour
HUMANS
Ditzen et al., 2009: found that subjects given intranasal OXT show more positive than negative behaviour during couple conflict, and have lower levels of cortisol in response to stress so oxytocin is important in reducing stress
Gonzaga, 2006: duration of romantic displays whilst recounting a positive experience to M partner correlated positively correlates with OXT release  blood taken before and after
Turner et al., 1999: high OT associated with high interpersonal distress
Taylor et al., 2006: negative correlations between OT and marriage quality

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