Oxytocin promotes social bonding in dogs (Social bonding in animals…
Oxytocin promotes social bonding in dogs
Social bonding in animals
behavioral ecology theory
social behaviors evolved to reduce risk of predation and make finding resources easier.
Evidence from Mammals:
success in competition and reproductive performance of individuals are subject to the quality of their social bonds.
strong social bonds between members of the same-sex correlated with higher longevity and/or offspring survival.
Benefits from sociability in baboons, house mice, rats, horses and bottle nose dolphins: better mating and parental care.
quantity and quality of social relationships increases individual mental health and reduces mortality.
Oxytocin (OT): neuropeptide made by hypothalamus
Possible implications of OT in social bonding
Regulation of critical behaviors: pair bonding, parental care, sexual behavior, peer recognition and social memory
Humans and primates exposed to excess OT show enhanced cooperation and trust of fellow group members
motivation to establish social relationships among group members
possible basis of pro social choices
possible mechanism for facilitating social bonds between individuals
Maintaining maternal care and pair bonding
reproduction, lactation, birth
Variation in OT levels
Affects alloparental care (care based on availability of limited resources)
(In canines and chimps) correlated with positive interactions with close social partners
These studies have failed to proven OT actually induces behavioral changes
Investigate if OT modulates the maintenance of long, close social bonds among individuals.
Shape understanding of the mechanisms that facilitate the formation and expression of social bonds in animals.
The Domestic Dog
Oxytocin enhances social motivation to establish stable social bonds with group members
Dogs given OT will show more positive behaviors towards partners than control.
Dogs given exogenous OT
Behavior observed for 60 min post exposure to OT.
Measured OT levels in urin before and after.
OT enhances motivation to for social bonds
Increase in endogenous OT after dogs engaged with one another and their human companion
OT systems are engaged during social interactions
Positive association found between changes in OT levels in both the actor and receiver of social interaction
Affiliation, social orientation, and social approach increased in Dogs receiving OT treatment
the same hormonal and neuroendocrine factors that promote parental and pair bonding behaviors among mammals also contribute to how individuals form social relationships.
Positive Selection for neurological mechanisms that are self promoting.