Monday, December 10, 2012

Oxytocin Produces More Engaged Fathers and More Responsive Infants

A recent study shows that oxytocin administration to fathers increases their parental engagement, while their babies are more responsive. As we know, oxytocin is a neuropeptide that plays an important role in the formation of attachment bonds.The scientists in this study examined whether oxytocin administration in fathers had an effect on their engagement and connection with their child. However, the study also examined whether oxytocin effects on the parent's behavior would affect  physiological and behavioral processes in the infant.

The results showed that salivary oxytocin levels rose significantly in the fathers after oxytocin administration. Interestingly, infants showed similar increases in their oxytocin levels. Under the increased oxytocin condition, fathers showed increases in key parenting behaviors, such as touch and social reciprocity that fostered increases in infant social behavior, such as the social gaze and exploratory behavior.

These findings have important implications for the treatment of young children at risk for social difficulties. This insight may eliminate the need to administer drugs to young children in some cases.

1 comment:

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