Western Undergraduate Psychology Journal

Article Title

Oxytocin as a Moderator of Attachment Orientation and Forgiveness


Past studies have independently investigated the influence of oxytocin and attachment orientation on trust. The current study will attempt to bridge the gap between these two literatures by investigating the possible moderating role of oxytocin on attachment orientation and forgiveness. After a dose of oxytocin or a placebo, participants will provide information regarding their attachment orientation as well as their propensity to forgive a partner who has committed infidelity. It is predicted that, in the control condition, the low avoidance individuals will be more likely to forgive than the high avoidance individuals. This difference is expected to disappear when oxytocin is administered, as high avoidance individuals will become more likely to forgive. It is also predicted that the high anxiety individuals will be more likely to forgive than low anxiety individuals in the control condition. This difference is also expected to disappear when oxytocin is administered, such that low anxiety individuals will increase to the level of high anxiety individuals in regards to forgiveness propensity. These predictions are based on evidence suggesting that lower levels of avoidance and higher levels of anxiety both lead to the production of behaviour that serves to maintain a relationship status (a function that is also served by forgiveness). The predictions are also based on evidence that shows oxytocin is likely to increase trust and pair-bonding behaviour. The results of this study will serve to extend the current literature on oxytocin and relationship maintenance.

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