Washington: Scientists have found that men and women are affected differently - by `the love hormone` - in social contexts.
Prof. Simone Shamay-Tsoory from the Dept. of Psychology at the University of Haifa, who led the research, said that these findings are in agreement with previous studies on the social differences between the sexes: women tend to be more communal and familial in their behaviour, whereas men are more inclined to be competitive and striving to improve their social status.
In the current study, conducted with the help of research students Meytal Fischer-Shofty and Yechiel Levkovitz, researchers tried to find out what effect Oxytocin would have on women`s and men`s accurate perception of social interactions. 62 men and women aged 20-37 years participated in the current research.
50 percent of the participants received an intranasal dose of Oxytocin while the other half received a placebo. After a week, the groups switched with participants undergoing the same procedure with the other substance.
Following treatment, video clips showing various social interactions were screened. Participants were asked to analyze the relationships presented in the clips by answering questions that focused mainly on indentifying relationships of kinship, intimacy and competition. Participants were expected to base their answers, among other things, on gestures, body language and facial expressions expressed by the individuals in the clips.
The results showed that Oxytocin improved the ability of all the participants to better interpret social interactions in general.
When the researchers examined the differences between the sexes they discovered that following treatment with Oxytocin, men`s ability to correctly interpret competitive relationships improved, whereas in women it was the ability to correctly identify kinship that improved.