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The relationships of empathy, oxytocin, and depression
University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Empathy, oxytocin, and depression are three subjects that are widely researched. Empathy means experiencing or understanding the emotions of an individual who is being observed. Oxytocin has frequently been shown to have a connection to lactation and labor. Depression is a common sickness that results in malfunctioning, suffering, and a shorter life. The mutual relationship and connection of all three has received limited research. The aim of this essay is to explore how they all relate to one another, to see what neural areas of involvement they have in common, and finally to see if there is a potential to administer oxytocin in order to alter empathy and/or depression. The sources used are published literature on the topics, found in for example Google Scholar and Worldcat. What was found was that both emotional and cognitive empathy have a positive relationship with oxytocin. Emotional empathy has in most research a positive relationship with depression while cognitive empathy seems to have a negative relationship with depression.Depression has a negative correlation with oxytocin. The neural areas of common involvement were amygdala, hippocampus, and cingulate cortex. Future research should look at how empathy, oxytocin, and depression affect each other, and why this happens. It is also important to look at the possibilities of affecting a neural area involved in empathy, oxytocin, and/or depression in order to make an impact on any of these factors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 68 p.
Keyword [en]
emotional empathy, cognitive empathy, oxytocin administration, plasma oxytocin depression, neural areas
National Category
Health Sciences Psychology Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-9727OAI: diva2:738232
Subject / course
Cognitive Neuroscience
Educational program
Psychological Coach
Available from: 2014-08-18 Created: 2014-08-16 Last updated: 2014-11-27

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Haglund, Cecilia
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