London: Scientists claim to have finally developed what many women have been waiting for -- a "cuddle hormone" spray which can make men more sensitive and caring.
The spray is based on oxytocin, known as the "cuddle chemical", a hormone naturally made in the body and involved in sex, sexual attraction, trust and confidence. It is known
for its role in female reproduction and helps mums bond with their children, say the scientists.
In the study, the scientists from Cambridge and Germany gave 24 healthy males nasal sprays containing oxytocin while 24 others received a placebo.
Afterwards the men were shown heart-wrenching photos, including a little girl in tears, a child embracing a cat and a man in mourning, and asked them to describe the level of
empathy they felt with those in the pictures. Their reactions were compared with those of men who hadn`t received the spray.
"The oxytocin group showed significantly higher emotional empathy levels than those men who had taken the placebo," the British media quoted lead scientist Dr Rene
Hurlemann of University of Bonn as saying.
According to the scientists, the study is the first to suggest oxytocin is also important for feelings of empathy.
Co-scientist Dr Kendrick of Babraham Institute in Cambridge said: "It is a big effect. It gets men up to levels shown by women -- it could be a good thing or bad thing, depending on which way you look at it.
"For many women, you could say it would almost be a godsend to make a man more empathetic and more like them. On the other hand, I am not sure they are used to having men that empathetic."
In another related experiment, the males had to answer simple questions on a computer. If they got the right answer, a smiling face popped up on the screen but if they it wrong, they were given a frown.
Those given the cuddle drug scored much higher as they responded better to the "praise" of the happy faces, according to the findings published in the `Journal of Neuroscience`.