April 18, 2015

About interspecies oxytocin-mediated positive loops

A recent article in Science reported that "gazing behavior from dogs, but not wolves, increased urinary oxytocin concentration in owners, which consequently facilitated owners' affiliation and increased oxytocin concentration in dogs."

In other words, the way dogs look at humans make humans bond more with their dogs (via raising levels of the hormone oxytocin (the 'love hormone,' which is also released in labor), which in turn makes dogs happy (via raising their levels of oxytocin). Surprising news? You decide.

It's interesting to see how this research was written about for a general audience. Who said it best?



And here is the abstract of the original article by Nagasawa et al.:

Oxytocin-gaze positive loop and the coevolution of human-dog bonds
Human-like modes of communication, including mutual gaze, in dogs may have been acquired during domestication with humans. We show that gazing behavior from dogs, but not wolves, increased urinary oxytocin concentrations in owners, which consequently facilitated owners’ affiliation and increased oxytocin concentration in dogs. Further, nasally administered oxytocin increased gazing behavior in dogs, which in turn increased urinary oxytocin concentrations in owners. These findings support the existence of an interspecies oxytocin-mediated positive loop facilitated and modulated by gazing, which may have supported the coevolution of human-dog bonding by engaging common modes of communicating social attachment.

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