How Dads Bond with Toddlers

Posted on February 20, 2017

Photo: flickr

It is not unusual to believe that only mothers go through bodily changes during and after the course of pregnancy. However, a study by James Rilling and his team shows evidences that fathers go through hormonal changes as well in response to parenthood. Published in the journal of Hormones and Behavior, the study is the first to look at the effects of two chemicals, oxytocin and vasopressin, on brain functioning of human fathers. These hormones are thought to play a role in paternal bonding.

It is revealed that men also go through bodily changes during parenthood. An increase of oxytocin is linked with the facilitation of play with babies and the ability to synchronize emotions. In order to find out more, Rilling and his team administered doses of oxytocin to participants via nasal sprays and used magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare any changes in neural activity. Results indicate that there is heightened activity in brain systems associated with reward and empathy. These results suggest that increased amounts of oxytocin leads to a higher motivation to pay attention to children as well as greater feelings of reward and empathy. On the other hand, there were no significant effects of increased doses of vassopressin contrary to some previous research.

Source material from Science Daily

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