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Why You're Loyal or Play the Field

Scientists are trying to figure out why some people loyal mates for life while others can't commit. Neuroscientist Gareth Leng says it's all because of oxytocin. Leng says the hormone works by "changing the wiring" of billions of brain circuits, opening up new patterns of interaction between nerve cells. Large amounts of it are released into the bran during sexual activity, creating new brain pathways that cause you to bond with your partner. People who have fewer of the special brain receptors that take up the oxytocin may have trouble making a permanent commitment to a partner.

Leng says, "The prairie vole mates for life and this life-long bond is established over the 48 hours of intense mating activity that is its first experience of sex. During this time, large amounts of oxytocin are released within the brain. Prairie voles have oxytocin receptors in different parts of their brains, and scientists have found that blocking these receptors prevents the formation of pair-bonding in females. How a single?exposure to oxytocin can produce such profound and prolonged changes in behavior is not known, but we are trying to find answers."

This could help explain why so many singles are not finding partners these days. Extensive dating and many sexual partners may not lead to the formation of the brain channels that signal commitment.

Oxytocin is also released during childbirth and helps a mother and her baby bond. And why don't we want to have sex with our siblings? Scientists have found a natural mechanism to prevent incest?people are not attracted to other people who have the same immune system.

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