There are a number of articles making the rounds on the internet this week claiming that taking oxytocin, sometimes called the “love hormone,” will make men in relationships more likely to remain monogamous. This piece in the LA Times states:
Oxytocin didn’t have the same effect on single heterosexual men, who comfortably parked themselves between 21 and 24 inches from the comely female stranger. The men who declared themselves in “stable, monogamous” relationships and got a dose of the hormone chose to stand, on average, about 6 1/2 inches farther away.
Correct me if I’m wrong but the only thing that this seems to prove is that men in relationships stand further away from a “comely female stranger” than single men. It’s a bit of a leap to then say that oxytocin promotes monogamy. Even if you could make that kind of a claim, isn’t it possible that it merely promotes fidelity? Perhaps we should replicate the study with men who are in polyamorous relationships. I would be interested to see the results.
I’m not saying that oxytocin is absolutely not promoting monogamy in attached men, I am saying that this particular study isn’t convincing me and the media (as is their job) is creating a mountain out of a 6 1/2 inch mole hill.