I am your pusher man!
The hormone that could stop men straying (but only if they are REALLY in a committed relationship)
- Researchers believe oxytocin could be the key to controlling monogamy
PUBLISHED: 10:17 EST, 14 November 2012 | UPDATED: 06:48 EST, 15 November 2012
Researchers have found a ‘monogamy hormone’ they say may help men stay faithful to their partner.
The researchers found the chemical oxytocin could act as a ‘fidelity marker’ in men, and shows if they are really in a committed relationship.
The chemical also increases trust between partners or friends.
Researchers tested the hormone on male volunteers before leaving them alone, individually, with an attractive female researcher to see what happens.
The men who were either married or in a ‘committed relationship’ and given a dose of oxytocin (via a nasal spray) felt more comfortable with a greater distance between themselves and the attractive woman.
As the woman moved closer to the man, under the pretence of asking research questions, the married men given oxytocin started to feel more uncomfortable.
Single men who had been given oxytocin and married men given a placebo did not feel so uncomfortable with the woman getting closer to them during the research.
The researchers found oxytocin led the men in committed relationships, but not those who were single, to keep a greater distance (10-15 cm) between themselves and the woman.
All the men admitted to finding the woman attractive.
The experiments were conducted by professors from the University of Bonn, Germany for the Journal of Neuroscience.
Oxytocin is found in the animal kingdom where it is known to play a role in promoting bonding, such as that between mating couples or between a parent and child.
As in humans, it is found in the part of the brain called hypothalamus which governs social interactions, such as forming friendships or long term partnerships.
It can also influence levels of trust among people but the latest research shows it may also be a vital ingredient in monogamy and fidelity among men.
Bonn professor Rene Hurlemann said: ‘Because oxytocin is known to increase trust in people, we expected men under the influence of the hormone to allow the female experimenter to come even closer, but the direct opposite happened.’
Previous animal research in prairie voles identified oxytocin as major key for monogamous fidelity in animals,’ Hurlemann said.
‘Here, we provide the first evidence that oxytocin may have a similar role for humans.
Other factors, like whether or not the men found the woman attractive or avoided making eye contact with the her, were not affected by the levels of oxytocin, the study added.
In a separate experiment, the researchers found oxytocin had no effect on the distance men kept between themselves and a male experimenter.