Keeping women at a distance

  • Updated: November 14, 2012 - 7:29 PM

 

If retired Army Gen. David Petraeus had gotten an occasional dose of supplemental oxytocin, a brain chemical known to promote trust and bonding, he might still be director of the CIA. A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience has uncovered a surprising new property of oxytocin, finding that when men in monogamous relationships got a sniff of the stuff, they subsequently put a little extra space between themselves and an attractive woman they'd just met. 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. When researchers conducted the experiment with a placebo, they found no differences in the distance that attached and unattached men maintained from a woman they had just met. LOS ANGELES TIMES

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