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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Oxytocin enables novelty seeking and creative performance through upregulated approach: evidence and avenues for future research

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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. WIREs Cogn Sci 2015, 6:409–417. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1354 This article is categorized under: Psychology > Emotion and Motivation Psychology > Reasoning and Decision Making Neuroscience > Cognition
(a) Originality of ideas generated under oxytocin versus placebo (based on Study 5 in Ref ); (b) Number of creative insights achieved under oxytocin versus placebo (based on Study 6 in Ref ).
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Neuroscience > Cognition
Psychology > Reasoning and Decision Making
Psychology > Emotion and Motivation

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