If you think of your dog as your “fur baby,” science has your back. New research shows that when our canine pals stare into our eyes, they activate the same hormonal response that bonds us to human infants. This study—the first to show this hormonal bonding effect between humans and another species—may help explain how dogs became our companions thousands of years ago.
“It’s an incredible finding that suggests that dogs have hijacked the human bonding system,” says Brian Hare, an expert on canine cognition at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Hare says the discovery might lead to a better understanding of why service dogs are so helpful for people with autism and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The study results suggest that human-dog interactions elicit the same type of oxytocin positive feedback loop as seen between mothers and their infants. This positive feedback loop, may have played a critical role in dog domestication. As wolves were morphing into dogs, only those that could bond with humans would have received care and protection.
This article excerpt is from Science, to continue reading more about this study and more on man’s best friend, see Science‘s latest coverage of doggy science.
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