Innate Longing for Connection: A Biopsychological View of Spiritual Longing Mediated by Oxytocin
Date of Award
Open Access Thesis
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Psychology, Criminal Justice and Sociology
Dr. Jennifer Thomson
Humans have an innate longing for connection with someone or something. Upon analysis of current literature, it was found that this longing correlates with biological and psychological pathways that influence human behavior. Among many factors, the hormone, oxytocin (OT), contributes to these systems and even mediates or buffers them. The effects of OT are evidenced by bonds formed with caregivers, romantic partners, God, and at times harmful substances. The onset and severity of mental illnesses are also partially impacted by this human need for social support and connection. After reviewing and analyzing literature from many domains, this internal hardwiring suggests a significance or purpose in the human makeup, more succinctly: Divine Creation. Biopsychological mechanisms—mediated in part by OT—and the resulting behaviors or psychological disorders demonstrate the human need for connection and potentially union or relationship with an ultimate, satisfying source, which is found in God. This paper seeks to illuminate pathways that contribute to our longing for connection, which ultimately reflect the purpose of human creation: to be in relationship with others and God.
Hamilton, Megan, "Innate Longing for Connection: A Biopsychological View of Spiritual Longing Mediated by Oxytocin" (2021). Honors Projects and Presentations: Undergraduate. 407.