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Spray to make men more caring

world Updated: May 01, 2010 00:05 IST
Highlight Story

Women’s prayers have finally been answered: Scientists have developed a spray which can make men sensitive and affectionate using a ‘cuddle hormone’.

Forty eight healthy males participated in the experiment. Half received an oxytocin nose spray at the start of the experiment, the other half a placebo.

The researchers then showed their test subjects photos of emotionally charged situations in the form of a crying child, a girl hugging her cat, and a grieving man.

The test subjects were then invited to express the depth of feeling they experienced for the persons shown.

In summary, Dr. René Hurlemann of Bonn University’s Clinic for Psychiatry was able to state that “significantly higher emotional empathy levels were recorded for the oxytocin group than for the placebo group”, despite the fact that the participants in the placebo group were perfectly able to provide rational interpretations of the facial expressions displayed.

The administration of oxytocin simply had the effect of enhancing the ability to experience fellow-feeling.

The males under test achieved levels which would normally only be expected in women.

Under normal circumstances, the “weak” sex enjoys a clear advantage when it comes to the subject of “empathy”.

Our study has revealed for the first time that emotional empathy is modulated by oxytocin, and that this applies similarly to learning processes with social multipliers, says Hurlemann.