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Inhaling Oxytocin Can Make a Man More Like a Woman

At least, when it comes to empathy.

Two experiments by Dr. René Hurlemann of Bonn University´s Clinic for Psychiatry showed that inhaling oxytocin made men respond more emotionally. In the first experiment, men inhaled oxytocin or placebo and then looked at photos of things like a girl hugging a cat and a grieving man. Then, they were asked to rate their depth of feeling.

The men who had inhaled oxytocin reached the same levels of feeling that women usually report.

In a second experiment, men and women performed an observation test on the computer. They got feedback either in the form of a red or green circle, or an approving face. Learning was better among all test subjects when they got approval from a person. But those who had gotten an extra dose of oxytocin showed a stronger response. 

This is certainly not the first study showing that oxytocin increases empathy. In 2007, neuroscientists at Rostock University found the same effect.

If you want to test your empathy, try this online quiz: Reading the Mind in the Eyes.

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