14 Stories

Study Uncovers the Power of 'Puppy Eyes'

A deep gaze between dog and owner boosts oxytocin levels

(Newser) - "When your dog is staring at you, she may not just be after your sandwich." That's how evolutionary anthropologists frame a new study that describes just how powerful a bond humans and dogs share. In two experiments, described in Science , both dogs and their owners saw an... More »

Animals Can Fall In Love: Study

That's what one heartwarming study suggests

(Newser) - In quite possibly the most awww-inspiring experiment ever conducted, researchers found that animals can love, just like humans. Paul Zak writes about a series of studies in which he was involved in the Atlantic , all of them revolving around oxytocin, the "neurochemical of love" that's released when humans... More »

Stressed? Dig Into Some Pretzels

Increased sodium means decreased stress hormones: Study

(Newser) - Bartenders may put out pretzels and chips to keep customers thirsty, but something deeper might be at play. All that salt helps ease social anxiety and keeps people loose, suggests a new study. Researchers found that rats exposed to stressful situations were much calmer when loaded up with sodium, which... More »

Warm and Fuzzy Oxytocin Has Its Limits

Hormone fuels good vibes but only towards 'in' group

(Newser) - Oxytocin is a hormone most commonly associated with the close feelings of trust and companionship that lovers and family members feel. But the chemical may have a dark side: new research shows there are limits to the affection it can stimulate, the New York Times reports. Experiments by University of... More »

What Women Want: Oxytocin

Happier women have higher levels of the hormone, study finds

(Newser) - If you've ever found yourself wondering what in the world women really want, scientists have an answer for you: oxytocin . The hormone, which has previously been shown to boost good feelings like trust and empathy, makes women happier, according to new research out of California. Scientists studied oxytocin levels in... More »

Cure for the Common Nerd: Nasal Spray

A spritz of oxytocin transforms awkward wall flowers in experiment

(Newser) - A blast of oxytocin nasal spray can turn a nerd into a potential playa—but only if a guy is "socially awkward" to begin with, scientists have found. Researchers discovered that the chemical—know as the "love hormone" for its ability to increase empathy and bonding, particularly between... More »

'Cuddle Spray' Makes Men Girly

Hormone induces emotion, empathy

(Newser) - Watch out macho men: German researchers have found a way to make males more sensitive. A hormone-laced potion called "cuddle spray" shot into men's noses can make males more emotional, empathetic and snugly. The active ingredient is oxytocin, a so-called "trust hormone" that is released during orgasm and... More »

Parents Struggle to Raise Kids Born Without Fear

Sufferers of Williams syndrome trust everyone

(Newser) - Imagine if your child trusted everyone, unconditionally. It sounds like fiction, but for parents of children with Williams syndrome, it can be a nightmare that demands eternal vigilance against a dangerous world. NPR profiles one family with a 9-year-old daughter, Isabelle, who has Williams and consequently feels no social fear.... More »

Oxytocin Improves Autistics' Social Skills

'Love hormone' offers hope of treatment

(Newser) - The hormone oxytocin may improve the social skills of people with high-functioning autism. In a new study, patients who received doses of it in a nasal spray were better able to recognize faces and interact with others in a game. In short, the so-called "love chemical" seems to help... More »

Banish Men From Childbirth: Doc

He says male presence leads to more stress and more C-sections

(Newser) - Men should make themselves scarce when women are giving birth, says a French obstetrician who will argue his case at a midwives summit this week. Michel Odent says men make women so stressed they stop producing the oxytocin hormone, which eases deliveries, reports the BBC . This results in more C-sections.... More »

Scientist: Love's Just Brain Chemicals

...that could someday be reproduced in a lab

(Newser) - An American neurologist is determined to prove wrong the poets who say love is beyond understanding, reports the BBC. The Emory professor argues that neurochemical reactions in certain parts of the brain can explain love, raising the possibility that scientists could someday create drugs to bring love back to dying... More »

New Trust Drug: Good for Shyness, Bad for Investing

Natural hormone makes people dumb with their money in experiment

(Newser) - Scientists have created a nasal spray that makes its users more trusting, the BBC reports. Made up mostly of oxytocin, alternatively nicknamed the “love hormone” or “cuddle chemical,” the spray decreases social fears by lowering activity in the amygdala. That should be great news for social phobics;... More »

Put Your Honey Where Your Mouth Is

As Valentine's Day approaches, scientists find gender rift on locking lips

(Newser) - From a peck on the cheek to "get a room"-level PDA, kissing is everywhere, but for an activity common to almost every culture, it's remarkably underscrutinized, reports the Washington Post. One study of college student kissers found that men see kissing mostly as a precursor to sex, while... More »

Roses Are Red, Viagra Is Blue ...

Impotence drugs may also raise levels of 'love hormone'; human studies up next

(Newser) - Viagra and other ED drugs may elevate levels of a hormone linked with feelings of love, a new study shows. Oxytocin, long associated with breastfeeding and maternal affection, also plays a part in arousal and orgasm; Viagra and related meds work on the part of the brain that controls levels... More »

14 Stories