Oxytocin, Fear, and Freezing

March 02, 2015

A study has been recently released that links oxytocin to the suppression of freezing behavior when frozen.  Generally, when fear is invoked, the heart rate increases, and the body can freeze.  This freezing behavior is generated in the amygdala.

When oxytocin is present, this fear response is less prominent.  The diminished reaction from the amygdala due to the presence of oxytocin causes less severe physical and emotional symptoms.  Although the heart rate still increased, the physical responses were far less significant.

This study was done in rats, and was released on July 1st, 2011.  Although rats are obviously not humans, their brains act and react in very similar ways.  The study has opened a new door in the studies of oxytocin.

It has been known that oxytocin can help reduce fear, but this is the first study that has proven to what extent.  Oxytocin and fear are closely related, and this experiment has unveiled more specifics of this relationship.