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Research article2005Peer reviewed

The psychobiology of emotion: The role of the oxytocinergic system

Uvnas-Moberg K, Arn I, Magnusson D


A necessary condition for the individual's survival is the capacity for mental, behavioral, and physiological adaptation to external and internal conditions. Consequently, the integrated organism strives to maintain a dynamic, functional balance and integrity under varying conditions. Effective individual adaptation processes are basically dependent on the functioning of the integrated psychophysiological system. In humans, the brain plays a fundamental role in these processes. It serves the adaptation of individuals to current and anticipated conditions by selecting, interpreting, and transforming information into mental, behavioral, and physiological responses. In doing so, the incoming information is linked to existing structures Of emotions, values, and goals. Consequently,, the interpretation of external information may van, and become subjective depending on an individual's present and past experiences (see e.g., Magnusson, 2003). Hitherto, empirical research has been mainly concerned with the aspect of the psychophysiological system, which is activated in situations that are perceived by the individual as threatening, harmful, or demanding and in which the fight-flight and stress responses described by Cannon (1929)and Selye (1976)play an important role. The aim of this article is to draw attention to a component of the psychophysiological system, the calm and connection system, underlying well-being and socialization. BY including this new system, the model of the integrated individual becomes more complete and it enriches the understanding of emotional aspects of brain functioning

Published in

International Journal of Behavioral Medicine
2005, Volume: 12, number: 2, pages: 59-65