Full course description
About the Course
Without loving relationships, humans fail to flourish, even if all of their basic needs are met. A life without love is not fully lived. Why and how does this happen? Part of the answer lies in knowledge of biochemical functions of oxytocin and the related, but more ancient neuropeptide, vasopressin. Oxytocin, once considered a “female reproductive hormone,” has a critical role in social behavior, sexual behavior, parenting, autonomic functioning, brain growth and development in both males and females. This presentation will present a brief biology of love, and will describe new findings regarding the behavioral and epigenetic consequences of perinatal exposure to oxytocin. These findings help to explain how the same neurobiological mechanisms which allow us to fall in love and nurture our offspring, also can foster a biology of good health across the life-span. These studies also indicate why it is important to respect the power of both love and oxytocin.
- Discuss the biochemical functions of oxytocin and vasopressin
- Describe the critical role oxytocin plays in social behavior, sexual behavior, parenting, autonomic functioning, and development
- Relate behavioral and epigenetic outcomes to perinatal exposure to oxytocin
- Integrate knowledge about the biochemical functions of oxytocin with understandings of good health across the life-span
About the speaker
Dr. Sue Carter is a Distinguished University Scientist and Rudy Professor Emerita of Biology at Indiana University. A career biologist, Carter has studied the endocrinology of love and social bonds for more than three decades. She was the first person to detect and define the physiology of monogamy through her research on the prairie vole. These findings helped lay the foundation for the studies of behavioral and developmental effects of oxytocin and vasopressin in humans. Carter is also Director Emerita, leading the Kinsey Institute from 2014-2019.