According to a new study of 48 volunteers, a nasal spray containing oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” can make men more in tune with others’ feelings. A team of German and British researchers found the spray made men just as empathetic as women, and boosted the ability to learn from positive feedback, which could help with behaviour therapy in conditions like schizophrenia. A naturally produced hormone, oxytocin is known to trigger labour pains and promote bonding between mother and baby. It also plays a role in social relations, sex and trust. In the study, half the men got a nose spray of oxytocin and half got a placebo. They then looked at photographs of images like a crying child, a girl hugging her cat, and a grieving man, and asked about their feelings. Those who got the spray had higher levels of empathy, usually seen in women. In another experiment, volunteers were asked to do an observation test and got an approving face if they got it right, and an unhappy face if wrong. Those who got the spray responded better to facial feedback.
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