Oxytocin is a very important hormone. It relaxes us and allows us to be calm. It also helps a woman when giving birth by regulating the cervix and the uterus. This is a hormone that is only found in mammals and is secreted by the pituitary gland. New studies show that it may be a hormone that causes us to be more faithful in relationships as well.
Oxytocin is called the love hormone. It is secreted when someone else touches us or when we are intimate with someone. The research was done at the Bonn University Medical Center which is located in Germany. The researchers stated that although humans exhibit faithful behavior this is not something that is common in mammals.
40 men were studied in the experiment. They were given either oxytocin or a placebo and were then shown photos of their spouses and then photos of other women. The reward center of the brain was studied to see if oxytocin had any effect on the reward center when the men looked at the different photos. What they found was that men were more stimulated when they had the oxytocin and they viewed the photos of their wives. They found them to be more attractive than the other women that they were looking at photos of.
Those who had the placebo were not as excited by the photos of their spouses and the reward center was not as active as those who had the oxytocin. The researchers that being familiar with someone was not enough by itself to really activate the reward center in the brain. This experiment went on to show how oxytocin can act like a drug for some couples.