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CNS Spectr. 2009 May;14(5):239-42.

Love and attachment: the psychobiology of social bonding.

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Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.


Basic animal studies and human imaging studies have contributed to our understanding of the psychobiology of love and attachment. There are overlaps and distinctions in the neuronal circuitry of maternal love, romantic love, and long-term attachment. In these circuits, important molecules, which have been demonstrated to play a role in the psychobiology of social bonding include dopamine, serotonin, opioids, oxytocin, and vasopressin. Particular genetic and environmental variations contribute to social-bonding phenotypes, consistent with an evolutionary perspective on the value of these behaviors. Advances in the psychobiology of social bonds have led to hypotheses about the pharmacotherapy of disorders of attachment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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