Even the toughest of hearts might melt at the sound of Elvis Presley crooning his classic song, “Love Me Tender.” Now a new study shows that when people with the genetic disorder Williams syndrome listen to that song or others, they experience changes in levels of the hormones associated with feelings of love. The findings provide clues about the genes that are tied to people's emotions, the researchers say. Researchers observed 21 people while they listened to music, and took blood samples to track levels of the hormones oxytocin and arginine vasopressin (AVP). The 13 participants with Williams syndrome — a genetic disorder that can bring developmental delays and mild mental retardation, along with an overly friendly and trusting personality — experienced a spike in both hormones when music played. Individuals without the condition saw little change to their oxytocin and AVP levels while listening. One woman with Williams syndrome experienced significantly higher spikes in the hormones, compared with everyone else in the study; in the experiment, she listened to the Elvis tune.
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