By Loretta Graziano Breuning

ISBN-10: 1440590508

ISBN-13: 9781440590504

ISBN-10: 1440590516

ISBN-13: 9781440590511

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I am not advocating such behavior, simply recognizing the human challenge of trying to feel good while avoiding conflict. Are Animals Really Selfless? You may have heard that animals are altruistic. There’s a demand for evidence that nature is good, and researchers tend to supply “studies” that meet the demand. In the name of science, hundreds of trials are done, and instances that can be construed as altruism are reported. The illusion of animal altruism is often built on highly artificial laboratory scenarios.

This paves neural pathways that facilitate the flow of oxytocin in similar settings. Bonds of attachment are a buildup of oxytocin circuits. Over time, attachment extends from the mother to the herd or pack or troop. Touch triggers oxytocin. Primates are often seen running their fingers through a troop mate’s fur to remove debris. Oxytocin makes it feel good to both the giver and the receiver. Monkeys and apes invest a lot of time grooming others, and it appears to establish social alliances. Researchers find that monkeys and apes with more social alliances get better mating opportunities and 46 Habits of a Happy Brain have more surviving offspring.

We wish lost love wouldn’t feel so bad, but it’s interesting to know that the bad feeling has a valuable function. In animals, it’s easy to see how bad feelings promote love: R5 Cortisol motivates a mammal mama to guard her child constantly and to search for nourishment to sustain her milk. R5 Cortisol motivates a male mammal to avoid conflicts he’s likely to lose and to risk conflicts he’s likely to win. If your social standing is threatened, cortisol alarms you because lost status threatens your DNA in the state of nature.

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Habits of a Happy Brain by Loretta Graziano Breuning

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