Harmony induced by a nasal puff of hormone

The so-called ‘love hormone’ oxytocin, delivered by a nasal spray, seems to do the impossible and make women friendlier and men more positive – even in the middle of an argument.

European researchers gave 47 married or de facto couples aged 20–50, five puffs of a nasal spray before instructing them to talk about an issue which was a continuing source of disagreement between them.

Half of the group was given a formula containing oxytocin while the other half was given placebo. Their ensuing discussion was filmed and their saliva was swabbed to measure nervous system activity.