Or gambling, for example, or monetary reward activates the nucleus accumbens as well.
NARRATIONAnd according to Iain, there may not be just one reward system.
Professor Iain Mc Gregor We think that the most important region is the nucleus accumbens, which is kind of up here.
The nucleus accumbens is where we can measure a release of the neurotransmitter dopamine when humans or animals take drugs or are exposed to other rewarding stimuli, such as sex.
And we know that that early start, where it's really deprived from social contact and physical contact, had a massive impact.
So we see that oxytocin levels, for example, are much lower than we would expect in other kids.
Dr Femke Buisman-Pijlman Our research mainly focusses on this early social experiences that people have that can be positive or negative, and that can really shape our developing brain.
New science has shown this amazing molecule also influences how sociable each of us is. Dr Graham Phillips That's about as passive as it gets. Circulating in the blood stream, it stimulates uterine contractions and it controls the let-down reflex for breast milk.Life pair bonders, like prairie voles or, indeed, ourselves, have a high density of receptors in the reward centre of the brain.Non-pair bonders, like meadow voles, certainly enjoy sex, but their lower density of receptors means it doesn't matter so much who the partner is.NARRATIONWe're all born with the foundations of an oxytocin system in our brains.But for it to function effectively, it needs to be primed. NARRATIONHow well the system develops depends on what we experience.
It turns out oxytocin is responsible for a lot more than just love.