Weizman finds ‘social’ molecule

in Health & Science

Scientists at the renowned Weizman Institute of Science discovered a molecule that could play a crucial role in our social behaviour, namely if we are into socialising or not. Or in other words – if we are willing and able to leave our comfort zone and personal safety zone.

Socialising at the Jerusalem Wine Festival (Credit: Mark Neyman, GPO)
Socialising at the Jerusalem Wine Festival (Credit: Mark Neyman, GPO)

Mice that were lacking this molecule were identified with a stress mechanism “that appears to act as a social switch”, explained the researchers in an article published in Nature Neuroscience.

“Most social contacts involve a certain level of social stress or anxiety, even when we interact with people we know well,” said Dr. Yair Shemesh, who co-led the study at the Weizmann’s Neurobiology Department.

Disruptions in this mechanism could be the reason for minor and major difficulties like social anxiety, autism, schizophrenia and other disorders.

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Middle East correspondent who is passionate about writing human interest stories. Published with: Spiegel Online, Bento, Welt, Welt am Sonntag, Zeit Online, Focus Online, Berliner Zeitung, dpa and others

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