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Underwater creatures are able to sense fear of their peers, study finds

The study reinforces the idea that understanding oxytocin as the love hormone is fundamentally flawed, suggesting it’s more of a switch that helps us decide how to feel in the moment.

Fish can understand if other fish are feeling anxiety and fear, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Science. More importantly, this ability is linked to oxytocin.

In their studies, the researchers deleted zebrafish’s oxytocin-related genes, rendering their brains unable to produce and absorb the hormone. Pisces have become absolutely antisocial, failing to detect and adapt to the behavior of their peers. Most notably, they couldn’t realize that other fish were scared of hell and take precautionary measures.

Then the scientists gave these fish injections of oxytocin and it restored their social skills – they started to understand and even mirror the senses of other fish.

“They react to other people’s fear. In that regard, they behave like us,” said Ibukun Akinrinade, a neuroscientist who participated in the research.

Research has also indicated that zebrafish pay more attention to stressed peers – scientists believe that sea dwellers tried to comfort them in this way.

The authors of the article also claim that oxytocin is a very old staff that plays a central role in the transmission of all emotions in most species. This means that a previous understanding of oxytocin as a love hormone is flawed and instead is responsible for the full spectrum of emotions, determining whether it’s time to fight, flight or procreate.

sputniknews Gt

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