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Lecture 17

PSYC 342 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Montane Vole, Prairie Vole, Oxytocin Receptor

Course Code
PSYC 342
Jens C Pruessner

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PSYC 342 Lecture 17 - Mar. 22
Three aspects of attachment
Partner attachment
Parental attachment
Partner Attachment - The Prairie Vole:
Male and female form long-lasting bonds
Share a burrow to live together and raise offspring
Female becomes socially exclusive after initial bonding, preferring her mate over others
The male ferociously guards his mate against rivals
The Montane Vole:
Male and female occupy separate burrows and avoid each other except to mate
Mating occurs often and indiscriminately
Lacks any family values an are asocial
Oxytocin and Vasopressin:
Oxytocin receptors three to seven times higher in prairie voles compared to montane voles
Receptors are concentrated in NcAc and PLC
While montane voles have the hormone, they are not responding to its effects
Oxytocin receptor location in Montane vole and Prairie vole differs
Parental Attachment - The Prairie Vole:
Male and female raise their young together
The female is willing to sacrifice her life to protect her offspring
Male devotes his life to finding nutrients while female is nursing the offspring
The Montane Vole:
Mother abandons her pups sixteen days after birth
The father never sees the offspring
When plucked from the nest by a predator, the offspring neither calls for help nor responds with stress hormone release
Oxytocin and Vasopressin:
Number of oxytocin receptors surges in female mountain voles during the 16 days of nursing
This is the absolute minimum time necessary to ensure survival of the offspring (and thus survival of the species)
Further Evidence From Laboratory Studies:
Impact of Vasopressin:
Link to Human Behaviour:
Vasopressin and oxytocin in humans serve similar purpose
Maternal behaviour arises from hormonal changes induced by oxytocin and vasopressin
After birth, offspring stimulates secretion of oxytocin and vasopressin
Visual, tactile, olfactory stimulation all combine to have these effects
Oxytocin in humans also affects bonding
Release of oxytocin is stimulated by sexual arousal
In both men and women, oxytocin levels rise dramatically during sex
Again, visual, tactile, and olfactory stimulation can have these effects
Discussion: Oxytocin and Behaviour
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