Oxytocin is the hormone which is known to boost social bonding, its released during breastfeeding and love making and now researchers have found that a telephone conversation is enough to do the trick.
The experiment took a group of girls between the ages of 7 and 12 and put them through the stressful experience of reading aloud to strangers. After the event some girls received a comforting hug from their mums and others received a phone call, both had the same effect of boosting levels of oxytocin.
Oxytocin is an important hormone in the formation of social bonds and its also needed to maintain them. This research could be an important step in understanding why some children become institutionalised from a very early age and why it is so difficult for them to form relationships later in life.
Professor Seth Pollack of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who led the study said, “It was understood that oxytocin released in the context of social bonding usually required physical contact. But it’s clear from these results that a mother’s voice can have the same effect as a hug,”
Dr Leslie Seltzer, who carried out the study, suggested that children who lack close parental contact in early life may suffer in later years with personal relationships partly because of an inability to produce oxytocin in response to the normal stimuli.