Oxytocin can sharpen the brain's self-other differentiation - a function that has been shown to play a crucial role in social bonding, successful social bonding, successful social interactions and the tolerance of others, find researchers.
They researchers also found that oxytocin helps to increase our positive evaluation of other people.
Neuropsychoanalysis Foundation research grantee Valentina Colonnello Ph.D., said that social bonding, mutual support, mate preference and parental investment are all mediated by the oxytocinergic system, which is heavily reliant on a person's ability to appreciate that self and others are both different and valuable.
Participants in the study were shown videos of their own face morphing into an unfamiliar face and vice versa, and were instructed to press a button as soon as they felt that they saw more features belonging to the incoming face.
Of the 44 participants, those given oxytocin before the task were significantly faster at identifying the new face, regardless of whether it was their own or that of a stranger.
The placebo-treated participants were also more likely to rate their own face as being more pleasant to look at than an unfamiliar face. The oxytocin-treated participants, on the other hand, rated both their own face and others faces as similarly pleasant.
The study has been published online in Psychoneuroendocrinology.