Love hormone injections could help us to be kinder to strangers, new research suggests.
An experiment was conducted among wild grey seals given shots of the hormone oxytocin – known to forge emotional bonds between mothers and babies, and romantic partners.
Scientists found that after the jabs, newly introduced seals instantly hit it off, seeking out each other’s company and keeping physically close.
Levels of aggressive behaviour also dropped under the hormone’s influence.
Despite receiving small doses of oxytocin, the changed behaviour of the loved-up seals persisted for two days.
This was unexpected, since the hormone is quickly cleared from the bloodstream.
Study leader Dr Kelly Robinson, from the University of St Andrews, and her team wrote in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: ‘Seals given oxytocin spent significantly more time in close proximity to each other, confirming that oxytocin causes conspecifics (same species members) to seek others out and remain close to one another.
‘Aggressive and investigative behaviours also significantly fell after oxytocin manipulations.’
Twenty newly weaned grey seal pups from the Isle of May, Scotland, were captured by the researchers and placed in two holding pens.
SOURCE: Daisy Dunne