Dog Evolution Paper
Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the brain that is associated with nurturing and attachment. According to the article “Dogs Hijack the Human Bonding Pathway” by Evan MacLean and Brian Hare, when dogs and owners gaze into each others' eyes, there is an increase in oxytocin levels in both species. This is similar to the oxytocin release that occurs when a mom gazes at her newborn infant, studies have shown. Results suggest that this trait may have been developed during domestication with humans. These findings help explain how an oxytocin feedback loop may have facilitated the coevolution of dogs. Before reading this article, I always thought that dogs were attached to their owners because they were raised by them. But it turns out that there is much more to it than that. According to the article, this shows that dogs and their owners can become emotionally attached just from looking into each others eyes. In the article, the authors talked about how the same thing happens when babies look at their parents. I find it very interesting that just from looking into each others eyes, animals and people can form an emotional bond. Another thing that I found interesting about this article was that they did a test. "The authors observed 30 dog owners and interacting with their dogs and measured both the dogs' and owners urinary oxytocin concentrations before and after the two interacted." The scientists concluded "That dog owners whose dogs gazed at them the most had the largest change in urinary oxytocin after interacting with their canine companions." I thought this was an interesting article because every time my dog give me that puppy dog look, I always find myself reaching over to pet her.
MacLean, E., & Hare, B. (2015, April 17). Dogs Hijack the Human Bonding Pathway. Science Mag.