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Oxytocin Drives Monogamy In Relationships, Study Finds

Update Date: Nov 26, 2013 11:25 AM EST

Pray that your partner is never short of the oxytocin hormone. The oxytocin hormone that is released in the brain is responsible for a renewed attraction for the faces of the romantic partner a study finds.

If spritzed with oxytocin, partners will find less drawn to attractive strangers.

According to the study, brains were also hyped up in the areas that were related with motivation rewards.

“Monogamy is actually quite costly for humans, so there must be some form of benefit,” said Rene Hurlemann to LA Times, a psychiatrist at the University of Bonn in Germany who also led the study. “We’d expect humans, especially males, would disseminate their genes. That would be a very strong evolutionary force driving male behavior. But what drives males to stay in a monogamous relationship?”

The reason of such behavior might lie in the diet of oxytocin that triggers dopamine dopamine. The neurotransmitter is associated with addiction, reward and motivation, the study found.

As a part of the study, 20 men were considered and they were required to fill out a Passionate Love Scale questionnaire. They were shown various images which included an image of their partners. Images of the familiar partner evoked a higher signal in the nucleus accumbens, long associated with reward, and the ventral tegmental area, an important dopamine engine that drives motivation, reported LA Times. The response for the image of the partner was the strongest than any other.

Statistically only 3 to 5 per cent of mammals form a strong pair bondings. In humans activities like hugs, massages, and sexual intercourse release oxytocin. Hence with such activities interest of the partner can be retained.

“We believe we found a mechanism that could explain why it is beneficial for males to stay in a romantic relationship,” added Hurlemann.

The study is published online in the journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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