Wonder why you want to see your friends so much more than your husband does his?
A study out of Georgia State University has the answer. Women just find same-sex social interactions to be that much more rewarding.
Females, it turns out, are more sensitive to the rewards of oxytocin. And since our brains release this chemical when we socialize in positive ways, this difference matters.
In fact, researchers are saying that it matters so much, it can change the way we treat illnesses that affect our mind.
“Recognizing gender differences in social reward processing is essential for understanding sex differences in the occurrence of many mental health diseases and the development of gender-specific treatments for psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, substance abuse and schizophrenia,” said Dr. Elliott Albers, director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and Regents’ Professor of Neuroscience at Georgia State, who led the research team.
As a general rule, women have higher rates of depression and anxiety disorders. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be diagnosed with things like autism and attention deficit disorder.
In truth, however, both men and women can suffer from a variety of mental illnesses or disorders. Little is known, though, about how the brain mechanisms underlying these phenomena differ between the sexes.
Learning about these differences can help patients reach more effective and personalized treatments. And, it can make for some good reasoning.
Need more time to chat with that good friend over coffee? Now there’s the science to back you up…and your male partner can’t really argue with oxytocin, can he?