The Narrow Line Between Love and Jealousy

Just  from my layman’s brain, I have never believed that jealousy was the product basically of self-doubt or feelings of inadequacy (though it could be). When we “have” something or someone that we care enough about, we are concerned about losing   it/him/her, and more so in the initial states than later after the test of time gives us the ability to predict future behavior.  A person with feelings of inadequacy will probably feel more intense jealousy, but I think that anyone who lives and breathes feels it. I also think that people who never feel jealousy possibly never put themselves in the position to experience it, and as a result, connect with people for whom there is no equivalent height of connection, love or passion.


November 11, 2009 / Shrink Rap

two-hearts-294x300A new study carried out at the University of Haifa has found that the hormone oxytocin, which is also known as the “love hormone”, and which affects behaviors such as trust, empathy and generosity, also affects opposite behaviors, such as jealousy and gloating. “Subsequent to these findings, we assume that the hormone is an overall trigger for social sentiments: when the person’s association is positive, oxytocin bolsters pro-social behaviors; when the association is negative, the hormone increases negative sentiments,” explains Simone Shamay-Tsoory who carried out the research.

Previous studies have shown that the oxytocin hormone has a positive effect on positive feelings. The hormone is released in the body naturally during childbirth and when engaging in sexual relations. Participants in an experiment who inhaled the synthetic form of the hormone displayed higher levels of altruistic feelings, and it is supposed that the hormone plays an important role in the formation of relationships between people.

However, in earlier studies that Dr. Shamay-Tsoory carried out, she found that laboratory mice that inhale the hormone display higher levels of aggression, and thus she decided to examine whether the hormone also affects negative social sentiments. The present study, which was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, included 56 participants, some of which inhaled the synthetic form of the hormone and others who were given a placebo (a dummy drug). Each participant was then asked to play a game of luck along with another competitor, who was in fact – and without their knowledge – a computer. Each of the participants was asked to choose one of three doors and was awarded the sum of money that was hidden behind that door. Sometimes the participant gained less money than the other player, and sometimes more, creating conditions in which a person might well develop feelings of envy and gloating.

The findings show that those participants who inhaled the “hormone of love” displayed higher levels of envy when the opponent won more money and of gloating when they were ahead. Another interesting result was that as soon as the game was over, no differences between the participants were evident with regards to these sentiments. This indicates that the negative feelings were empowered only in the course of the game itself.

“Following the earlier results of experiments with oxytocin, we began to examine the possible use of the hormone as a medication for various disorders, such as autism. The results of the present study show that the hormone’s undesirable effects on behavior must be examined before moving ahead,” Dr. Shamay-Tsoory concludes.
Source: University of Haifa



One thought on “The Narrow Line Between Love and Jealousy

  1. djnlsn says:

    Well said Zoom. You’re dead on.

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