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Research into the “dark side of oxytocin” reinforces Melanie Klein’s observations

August 2, 2011

Melanie Klein’s view of the infant as greedy, envious and destructive caused a lot of upset when she first formulated it. Even now many shy away from it while acknowledging it’s clinical applicability. We prefer the Winnicottian infant/mother unit or the benign attachment driven infant.

When reading this summary of research into the "cuddle chemical" oxytocin I was struck by a phrase: "Recent studies have found that people who were given oxytocin, then played a game of chance with a fake opponent, had more envy and gloating". The article goes on to say: oxytocin seems to promote "approach-related emotions. These are emotions that have to do with wanting something, as opposed to shrinking away".


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