Hormones and Neurotransmitters as Catalysts for Convention

Hormones and Neurotransmitters as Catalysts for Convention

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  • 1 Post By Stelmaria
  • 1 Post By Stelmaria

This is a discussion on Hormones and Neurotransmitters as Catalysts for Convention within the General Psychology forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; This query straddles psychology and philosophy. Have people considered how these factors may precede people's social decisions in any context? ...

  1. #1

    Hormones and Neurotransmitters as Catalysts for Convention

    This query straddles psychology and philosophy.

    Have people considered how these factors may precede people's social decisions in any context? Through some reading it's seeming that testosterone compels one to gain status (i.e. possessing the larger property, winning arguments...) and that estrogen, by my estimation, compels one to decide what status is and seeks access to it (choosing who has the larger property over who doesn't). Of course status is relative so "different strokes for different folks." No accounting for taste. It seems either sex freely uses hormones socially to assert dominant qualities and encourage them.

    Then there's dopamine ("love," "friendship," distraction from pain), cortisol, adrenaline (thrill seeking, affirming one's own security by comparing differing conditions via "at least I'm not like so and so..."), etcetera...

    It's as if within these is the origins of, say, religion and societal balances and structure.



  2. #2

    Neurotransmitter/hormone networks don't actually work in the specific ways you propose. These networks themselves are dynamic and are of course conditioned through social participation, but explanations like xyz displayed a particular aggressive behaviour because they have a tendency towards having more epinephrine (or testosterone) or whatever is simplistic.

    A single time point correlation isn't sufficient, because these are dynamic systems. Perhaps the high level is induced by regular behaviour, rather than the cause of that behaviour.

    Though in general, such conditioned effects have various (biological and behavioural) feedback loops to sustain a particular behavioural and biological pattern and it is not a single neurotransmitter/hormone that is involved, but the overall pattern of them all.

  3. #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowy Leopard View Post
    Neurotransmitter/hormone networks don't actually work in the specific ways you propose. These networks themselves are dynamic and are of course conditioned through social participation, but explanations like xyz displayed a particular aggressive behaviour because they have a tendency towards having more epinephrine (or testosterone) or whatever is simplistic.
    The part about 'xyz explanations' makes sense, but that doesn't seem related to the original point. More or less levels of something, I mean, wasn't my direction. I'm also of the notion that testosterone, for instance, doesn't directly cause aggression like many believe. However, my focus here was elsewhere, i.e. the effects of such factors (hormones, neurotransmitters) on behavior. Is there any such influence? If not, do we just not know why we act the way we do?

    A single time point correlation isn't sufficient, because these are dynamic systems. Perhaps the high level is induced by regular behaviour, rather than the cause of that behaviour.

    Though in general, such conditioned effects have various (biological and behavioural) feedback loops to sustain a particular behavioural and biological pattern and it is not a single neurotransmitter/hormone that is involved, but the overall pattern of them all.
    I'm not sure of the 'level' origins. While the body isn't simplistic, doesn't our behavior start from brain activity in relation to environment? Doesn't dopamine encourage feelings of rightness, cortisol stress, and hormones certain styles of interacting?

  4. #4

    Quote Originally Posted by Le9acyMuse View Post
    Doesn't dopamine encourage feelings of rightness, cortisol stress, and hormones certain styles of interacting?
    These hormones and neurotransmitters do have an effect in the sense that cells that have dopamine or glucocorticoid receptors have specific functions and some of these functions are involved in those sensations, emotions or behaviours you mention. The result of the presence of the signal depends on how the signal is received (eg receptor affinity, sensitivity, expression level etc) and the downstream signalling (and whether these downstream signals are amplified or blocked by whatever intracellular processes - the same signal can have opposite effects on cells that have different functions).

    The problem is that it isn't as straighforward as saying dopamine encourages feelings of rightness. Dopamine is involved in a whole bunch of things (eg memory function, motor control). But in terms of cognition, it is not merely the presence of dopamine that leads to say, a feeling of satisfaction, but the patterns of signalling and the function of the clusters of neurons that are stimulated.

    Likewise, cortisol doesn't necessarily cause a sensation of stress, it is secreted as a result of stress. Cortisol's primary function is to promote Gluconeogenesis. Those with Addison's disease, or some sort of lesion of the pituitary gland will still experience feelings associated with stress.

    It is the patterns that matter. The patterns that lead to specific sensations, or emotions, or behaviour, rather than the mere presence of the hormone or neurotransmitter. The problem is that we don't really understand those patterns yet. The best we can do right now is show that particular parts of the brain are activated, for specific functions/moods/sensations/emotions/behaviour.
    Le9acyMuse thanked this post.

  5. #5

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowy Leopard View Post
    These hormones and neurotransmitters do have an effect in the sense that cells that have dopamine or glucocorticoid receptors have specific functions and some of these functions are involved in those sensations, emotions or behaviours you mention. The result of the presence of the signal depends on how the signal is received (eg receptor affinity, sensitivity, expression level etc) and the downstream signalling (and whether these downstream signals are amplified or blocked by whatever intracellular processes - the same signal can have opposite effects on cells that have different functions).

    The problem is that it isn't as straighforward as saying dopamine encourages feelings of rightness. Dopamine is involved in a whole bunch of things (eg memory function, motor control). But in terms of cognition, it is not merely the presence of dopamine that leads to say, a feeling of satisfaction, but the patterns of signalling and the function of the clusters of neurons that are stimulated.

    Likewise, cortisol doesn't necessarily cause a sensation of stress, it is secreted as a result of stress. Cortisol's primary function is to promote Gluconeogenesis. Those with Addison's disease, or some sort of lesion of the pituitary gland will still experience feelings associated with stress.

    It is the patterns that matter. The patterns that lead to specific sensations, or emotions, or behaviour, rather than the mere presence of the hormone or neurotransmitter. The problem is that we don't really understand those patterns yet. The best we can do right now is show that particular parts of the brain are activated, for specific functions/moods/sensations/emotions/behaviour.
    So the causes are more complex than the responses we're familiar with. These causes, whatever clusters and patterns are involved, presumably do marginalize our responses, and are somewhat consistent. I'd love to say that these causes underlie our desires for status, security, meaning and excitement. It's better than saying the self/identity is responsible. Yet the patterns aren't understood yet. Frustrating.


     

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