Home Health Parents News Now 'Love Hormone' Oxytocin May Help Fathers, Kids Bond 'Love Hormone' Oxytocin May Help Fathers, Kids Bond By Holly Lebowitz Rossi December 20, 2012 Advertisement Save Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print shutterstock_121826353 30090 "In a study published in Biological Psychiatry, 35 fathers played with their five month old daughters, once after being given a nasal spray containing either oxytocin and again after being given a placebo. Each time, they were instructed to engage in a task called the "still face" paradigm, which produces a small, heart-tugging drama. Researchers measured oxytocin levels in both the dads and their babies before and after the exercise. First, the father smiles and plays with the baby, who sits in an infant seat facing him. Then he keeps his face blank and expressionless, refusing to respond as the infant makes increasingly worried attempts to re-engage him. After a few minutes of watching but ignoring the child's distress, the dad resumes a more loving expression and reassures baby that all is well. After receiving oxytocin, the fathers were generally more responsive to their little girls— almost certainly having a harder time keeping their faces blank during the "still face" and consequently responding far more quickly when instructed to re-engage. Under the influence of the hormone, the dads made more eye contact, provided more touch, had more mirroring and reciprocal interactions and indulged in more baby talk than after receiving placebo. Their babies also tended to respond more to their dads who had received the oxytocin sprays—with increased smiles, laughter, mirroring and play behavior—compared to their behavior when their dads were receiving the placebo. Their own oxytocin rose in near perfect sync with the elevation of the hormone occurring in their fathers." Image: Father and daughter, via Shutterstock By Holly Lebowitz Rossi Save Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print Comments Add a Comment Be the first to comment! No comments yet. Advertisement Close this dialog window Add a comment 'Love Hormone' Oxytocin May Help Fathers, Kids Bond Add your comment... Cancel Submit Success! Thanks for adding your feedback.