You’ve probably heard that eye contact is important. It’s one of the first things you’ll learn if you take a course in public speaking. They’ll tell you eye contact demonstrates confidence and engages listeners. That’s true. Even Cuddle Labs has stipulated that eye contact is one of the integral elements of a good cuddle. But did you know that there is a whole field of research dedicated to exploring the significance, perceived and biological, of eye contact? It’s called Oculesics, and it’s revealed a lot of really interesting information pertaining to cuddling. Most pertinent is the discovery that prolonged eye contact stimulates the production of oxytocin, just like a social touch.
So, think about your own experiences with eye contact. If you live in a big city, like me, you may find yourself wondering about it a lot, thanks to a city’s tendency to push a bunch of total strangers into a small space for an extended period of time (like the subway). Usually, if my eyes meet someone else’s, both lookers quickly look away. Why is that? What makes eye contact uncomfortable in that situation? And what if I maintain eye contact? Keeping a straight face feels totally weird. I have to smile. And if I smile, the person I’m looking at will usually smile back. So eye contact is either awkward or induces smiling. Weird.
We feel these ways because eye contact is actually a very intimate behavior. It feels uncomfortable if you’re not feeling intimate with the other participant. It feels just the same as it might if you hugged that same person, or if they hugged you. It crosses a boundary that we only take down when we’re feeling safe and open. It’s really like a hands-free cuddle. And don’t forget about these same feelings coming up with people you do know. So much can be communicated solely through eye contact. So what’s going on here? Why does eye contact feel so similar to physical contact? View full article »
My good friend alerted me to this awesome and short article from The Atlantic and I wanted to pass it along to anyone who likes Cuddle Labs! So here’s the link:
A Whiff of Extroversion: Sniffing Oxytocin Could Make Us Outgoing
Soon to come: Want to show your Cuddle Pride? While you wait for Cuddle Labs itself to start making merchandise, we will aggregate some sites that already make cuddle-related products. For starters, check out this oxytocin necklace from made with molecules.
You may think that exercise and cuddling have nothing in common. While cuddling involves relative stillness and is easy to motivate yourself to do, exercise involves high levels of physical activity and, for most people, is extremely difficult to make yourself do.
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The flood of research on oxytocin doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon! (And we couldn’t be happier about it.) Just yesterday, CNN reported on a new study from Oregon State University, which seemed to indicate that empathy and social skills are strongly influenced by variations in an oxytocin receptor gene.
In the study, OSU scientists swabbed saliva from one partner in each of 23 couples they’d recruited, in order to test for their variant of the gene. They then videotaped them listening as their partner described a difficult time in their lives. Next, the scientists played the videos, muted, for another group of 116 people. They asked this group to rate the recorded partners on kindness, caring, and trustworthiness based solely on body language.
The gene in question can manifest in any of “GG,” “GA,” or “AA” variants. Six out of the 10 partners judged “most prosocial” were found to possess the “GG” genotype for the receptor gene; 9 of the 10 “least trustworthy” partners were found to possess at least one “A” variant. View full article »
We’ve been waiting for this one to become available for a long time. Ladies and gentlemen, a talk by neuroeconomist and oxytocin scholar Paul Zak has gone online at TED.com. In it, he details his personal research on the “cuddle hormone,” suggesting that its effects may be even greater than previously imagined. Zak argues that oxytocin is the “moral molecule,” responsible for human goodness—and he brings the science to back it up.
All Cuddle Labs fans should watch this video. Zak’s research on oxytocin has uncovered yet more reasons for the work that we do. Cuddling deserves consideration! This talk explains why.
I don’t know about you, but I always dreamed of discovering a magical potion that would melt away my sorrows and fill me with a sense of warmth and love for all humanity.
Of course, as I grew older, I realized this was an unrealistic goal. And then I started my research on cuddling!
Turns out, humans naturally produce an amazing chemical that really can improve our lives all around. If you’ve read other Cuddle Labs posts (or the title of this post) you’ll know the chemical to which I refer is… OXYTOCIN!
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