Oxytocin as Sports Enhancer

Is playing football like falling in love? That question, which would perhaps not occur to most of us watching hours of the bruising game this holiday season, is the focus of a provocative and growing body of new science examining the role of oxytocin in competitive sports.

Italy’s Daniele De Rossi, right, celebrates after scoring a goal against Denmark during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Milan in October.

Until recently, though, scientists had not considered whether a substance that promotes cuddliness and warm, intimate bonding might also play a role in competitive sports.

But the idea makes sense, says Gert-Jan Pepping, a researcher at the Center for Human Movement Sciences at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, and the author of a new review of oxytocin and competition. “Being part of a team involves emotions, as for instance when a team scores, and these emotions are associated with brain chemicals.”

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS for the New York Times.

Read more here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/21/the-love-hormone-as-sports-enhancer/ and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3444846/

Gert-Jan Pepping is a consultant, researcher, and senior lecturer in Psychology of Human Movement and Sport at the School of Exercise Sciences of ACU, Brisbane.

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Posted in Football, Joint Action, My own research, Science General, Sport Science

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