Who would you spritz if you had a vial of kindness or a flask of love? Researchers in Japan sprayed their dogs.
During a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers sprayed either oxytocin (the "love hormone") or a placebo saline spray into the noses of 16 dogs of varying breeds. Scientists then had the pooches join their owners in a different room.
Owners were asked to ignore their furry friends, but the dogs that had received oxytocin "were more likely to sniff, lick, and paw at their people than were those given the saline." The cuddle-chemical dogs showed affection to not only their owners but also the other pups, proving the power of oxytocin to promote friendship between animals, even if they're different species.
Oxytocin is the key chemical in the formation of bonds between many mammalian species, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Naturally produced in the pituitary gland, just one whiff of oxytocin is known to foster trust, cooperation, and heightened generosity in parent-offspring and same-species relationships.
Oxytocin spray could be key in forming and maintaining social bonds and close relationships within and between species. "We believe that oxytocin is a hormonal mechanism that facilitates the maintenance of close social bonds not only in dogs or cats, but also in any mammal species, since the oxytocin system is very ancient and has similar functions in a wide number of taxa," Miho Nagasawa, co-author of the study, told Discovery News.
In other words, grumpy cats and humans, you're next.