An article from Live Science discusses new research headed up by psychologist Ruth Feldman at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. She found that the “love hormone,” known for its role in strengthening the connection between mothers and babies, also has an effect on dads.
From the article:
The study used blood samples from 80 cohabitating couples to chart the levels of the hormone oxytocin in first-time parents during the first weeks of parenting, and again after six months. Researchers also correlated the oxytocin levels with videos of parents interacting with their babies. …
“It’s possible that oxytocin is related to the type of behaviors from which mothers and fathers derive the most reward,” Feldman wrote in the Aug. 15 issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry. “Infants tend to prefer fathers as playmates when they are positive and choose mothers for comfort when distressed. The infant’s preference may be of a high reward value for the parent, and thus, although mothers and fathers displayed similar levels of affectionate and stimulatory play, oxytocin may be linked to the behaviors each parent found the most rewarding.”