Hormonal systems, human social bonding, and affiliation
Which hormones are implicated in human social bonding and affiliation? And how does field research speak to this issue? We begin by laying out a broad view of how endocrine hormones in general modulate life history allocations of energy and other resources, and the ways in which their neuromodulatory functions must be understood within a broader conceptualization of how they have been shaped to affect allocations. We then turn to four specific hormones or hormone families that have received much attention: oxytocin, opioids, prolactin, and progesterone. Each plays a role in regulating psychological capacities and propensities that underlie individuals' interactions with important social targets. Yet in no case is it clear exactly what regulatory roles these hormones play. We suggest several directions for future research.