Alcohol has long been revered for its power to get pretty anyone, after enough, to dance the "Macarena." It turns out that the hormone oxytocin might do the same thing — help people feel more extroverted — without the problems associated with alcohol, such as drunk driving, physiological damage and ordering pizza at 3 A.M.
In a study authored by Christopher Cardoso, participants inhaled either a placebo or the hormone oxytocin, which is the "bonding hormone" that sees a spike in women after childbirth. It is thought to help mothers bond with their children, but the study shows it also makes people feel more extroverted.
Again, it makes people feel more extroverted; it doesn't necessarily make them more extroverted. It's a perception-changing hormone, but that difference in perception can obviously lead to someone acting differently.
"Participants who self-administered intranasal oxytocin reported higher ratings of trust and openness to experiences than those who received a placebo," Cardoso said. "[The] study shows oxytocin can change how people see themselves, which could in turn make people more sociable. Under the effects of oxytocin, a person can perceive themselves as more extroverted, more open to new ideas, and more trusting."
The study didn't actually place these folks in social situations after taking a whiff of the hormone, but it does stand to follow that self-perception is a key factor in how one acts in public. Regardless, feeling more empowered, even merely internally, is not a bad thing by any means.
In the future, extroversion might be a good, hard whiff away, which sounds way cheaper than five whiskey shots.
Via The Atlantic