Love hormone makes mom the child's favourite

The bonds

Love hormone makes mom the child's favourite

Scientists at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York have identified a hormone, called oxytocin, which is produced in much larger amount by women, may be behind their stronger bonding with their children.

Although they have a superficial understanding of how this chemical, also called as cuddle hormone, behaves in humans, they believe the hormone of love helps women having a stronger bonding with their children than their husbands.

Multi-functional hormone

According to researchers, oxytocin performs a number of roles in the human body, and is especially important in expecting and recent mothers, because it can help induce labour or stimulate lactation.

That link to pregnancy made it a prime suspect for inducing mother-child bonding, and much research has concentrated on uncovering its role in maternal behaviour, said Jennifer Bartz, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Bartz added, “It’s pretty clear that the hormone oxytocin plays a role in bond formation in animals, but right now, we really know very little about the neurochemistry of bonding in humans.”

Bartz  further said the chemical interacts with a number of other hormones associated with pleasure and social behaviour. Research has also shown that oxytocin helps individuals remember the faces of the people they like, and distinguish them from the people they don’t like.

“It seems like one of the things oxytocin does is facilitate social memory. It helps us establish a preference for particular individuals,” Bartz said. And, as any mother who feels that her kids call too rarely can attest, the oxytocin-based mechanism that bonds mothers to children may not work reciprocally.

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