Despite a general consensus that oxytocin (OT) has prosocial effects, there is no clear agreement on how these effects are achieved. Human research on OT is reviewed under three broad research initiatives: attachment and trust, social memory, and fear reduction. As an organizing perspective for scholars’ current knowledge, a tentative model of the causes and effects of alterations in OT level is proposed. The model must remain provisional until conceptual and methodological problems are addressed that arise from a failure to distinguish between traits and states, differing research paradigms used in relation to OT as an independent versus dependent variable, and the possibility that OT effects depend on the initial emotional state of the individual. Social and personality psychologists have important roles to play in developing more rigorous and creative research designs
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