How is love induced between humans? Say, between mother and child, couples, etc.

Does the phenomenon of love exist in other mammals, too?


1 Answer 1


"Love" is a subjective phenomenon that can't really be applied to non-human animals because we can't ask them about their subjective experiences. However there is some clear evidence, especially in more social mammals, of caring behavior and social bonds for other conspecifics.

As far as biological basis, I suppose you could consider it biochemistry, the peptide hormone oxytocin is correlated with formation of social bonds between animals of many species (although Wikipedia isn't the greatest source, you will find this particular page is saturated with links to scientific literature). I would caution against the popular press treatment of oxytocin as "the love hormone" and caution against simplifying a complex set of behaviors to the action of one peptide, but certainly the evolutionary conservation and broad applicability suggest that this is indeed an important hormone in social relationships.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Till now, I only knew oxytocin as a birth hormone and milk let down hormone.Never heard about this love hormone concept. $\endgroup$
    – San
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 22:39
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @San If you search for something like "oxytocin love hormone" you will get a broad mix of crazy hyped pseudoscience as well as some fairly nice popular science press articles that are much more nuanced. There is good evidence that oxytocin can (moderately) change human behavior in certain situations, but it definitely isn't nearly as simple as put two people together, add oxytocin, stir 5 minutes, love! More like, "there is a modest statistically significant difference in trusting behavior versus controls." $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 22:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .