WELLNESS
07/29/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Has Science Found A Cure For Shyness?

Time magazine is reporting that scientists may have found a cure for shyness.

Known as oxytocin (not to be confused with the painkiller OxyContin), the naturally occurring hormone is best known for controlling contractions during labor, but it also plays a key role in other fundamental human urges -- including the desire to connect with others.

Without oxytocin people would be far less inclined to seek social interaction, let alone fall in love and mate for life (or, as scientists call it, "pair bond"). Conversely, researchers are beginning to discover that low levels of the hormone -- or the body's faulty response to it -- may contribute to severe social dysfunctions like depression and autism.

Early studies of oxytocin's role in social interaction have yielded some interesting results... In studies by Paul Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies in Claremont, Calif., small doses of inhaled oxytocin spray reduced anxiety and wariness of strangers in healthy volunteers; in one trial, the hormone made people feel more generous and trusting with their money.

This follows the BBC's report in March that chronic shyness may, in fact, be an illness.

Read more from Time.com here.