Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Paul Zak

Reader 2

Jessica Malisch

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Rights Information

© 2014 Amira Athanasios


Oxytocin is a neurohormone that has been correlated with lactation, uterine-contractions, postpartum behavior, pro-social behavior, trust, empathy, and decreased anxiety. In addition, oxytocin is believed to underscore the tend-and-befriend response to stress. In this study, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol and oxytocin levels were measured in response to a social stressor in human participants. Oxytocin was initially seen to increase with ACTH and cortisol in response to a social stressor. As levels of oxytocin increase, levels of ACTH and cortisol were shown to decrease or plateau. I conclude that oxytocin is released in response to a perceived stressor and display inhibitory effects over ACTH and cortisol.

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