Oxytocin enables novelty seeking and creative performance through upregulated approach: evidence and avenues for future research
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Oxytocin is an evolutionary ancient hypothalamic neuropeptide well known for its role in reproduction, social bonding, and
group affiliation. Recent work has linked oxytocin in humans to creative cognition—the ability to produce insights, ideas,
and problem solutions that are original and potentially useful. Here we review this literature, focusing on the relationship
between (1) single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene; endogenous oxytocin from blood plasma, and
intranasal administration of oxytocin (vs placebo), and (2) creativity-related traits (e.g., novelty seeking, extraversion,
and openness to experience), and behaviors (e.g., exploration, divergent thinking, original ideation, and problem solving).
Findings are interpreted in the context of the dual pathway to creativity model and except for OXTR: (1) reveal a weak to
moderate but consistent association between oxytocin and creativity, which emerges because (2) oxytocin enables the cognitive
flexibility pathway more than persistent information processing. Findings can be best understood in terms of oxytocin's putative
effects on dopaminergic activity and concomitant approach tendency.
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