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Does socializing trigger neurtransmitters?

  1. Aug 23, 2011 #1
    Does socializing (straightforward, without laughter) trigger neurotransmitters that make you feel happier?

    If so what is/are their names.

    What neurotransmitters are triggered when smiling/laughing?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2011 #2


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    socializing undoubtedly triggers neurotransmitters (as does any stimulus/response behavior).

    not sure what you mean by "straightforward" or why you are particularly concerned about neurotransmitters. You might be more interested in hormones that are neuromodulators, like oxytocin: a very important social hormone in mammals.

    dopaminergic neurons, for instance, are involved in general reward mechanisms (both social and non-social), but classifying behaviors by neurotransmitter doesn't seem like it would lead to a clear and predictive division because each class of neurotransmitter serves so many functions. I'm not saying that oxytocin doesn't serve other functions, but it is play a very prominent role in intimacy.
  4. Aug 28, 2011 #3
    Thanks for your reply. I did some quick research on neuromodulators.

    What I'm particularly concerned with is the exact chemistry of why so many people loathe to socialize. I want to know in much more detail (probably picked up that habit from mathematics hehe). But maybe its not that cut and clear yet.

    For example, not all socialization makes you "happy". Sometimes you feel bored and you just want to leave and do something else. What really happens in the brain during those differences intrigue me.
  5. Aug 28, 2011 #4


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    Well, there's the big three: genetic, developmental, and learned.

    That is, in some cases the difference comes about from abnormal functioning in neural centers that are associated with social behavior. Some people are just never properly equipped for socializing as we know it via neurological illness from genetic mutation. This would be genetic.

    Developmentally, if a fetus doesn't receive proper nutrition or receives toxins, there can be biological problems that aren't quite genetic.

    But some people are just not properly raised in the society to which they will be participating as an adult. The most obvious example is feral children. They never learned social mannerisms, so they wouldn't be able to interpret social cues in the first place beyond those that are said to be "hard wired". A less critical case: if you move to another country after learning how to socialize in your native country, there may be lots of social boundaries to overcome (besides just the obvious language barrier).

    Besides international cultural conflicts, there's also subcultural conflicts. If you were raised by hippies in the country, you may have trouble relating to gangsters in the city.

    So there's a big soup of mechanisms to choose from and now we've just barely scratched the surface of each.
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