We experience oxytocin in many of our social relationships, including bonding with our parents, children, or partners. What is surprising is that we also experience a change in this hormone when bonding with a completely different species.
Of the 12,359 dogs and owners who have played the Eye Contact game in Dognition, 43 percent have a "long gaze" or hold eye contact with their owners for 90 seconds or more.
Earlier this year, researchers from Azabu University in Japan, found that dogs who spent the longest time gazing into the eyes of their owner had a 130 percent rise in oxytocin, while the owners had a 300 percent increase.
In humans, the most well known example of eye contact and oxytocin is with mothers and their babies. Mothers stare at their babies, which triggers oxytocin release in the babies, which causes them to stare back at their mothers, which makes mothers want to stare more at their babies, and so on. This creates a feedback loop that enhances feelings of love and attachment when babies are too young to express themselves by talking, laughing, or even smiling.