love & other drugs

The ‘Love’ Hormone Turns You Into a Lying People-Pleaser

Photo: Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

​What is love? What good does it do for us? Does it cause more trouble than it’s worth? Hush, curious lover. Scientists are on the case.

Working from the notion that love is related to oxytocin — a hormone believed to increase cooperation, trust, hugs, cuddling, and morality — a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that love (i.e., huffing oxytocin) turns humans into people-pleasing liars. Participants were asked to report whether they won a coin toss, with monetary rewards promised. After taking oxytocin, they were more likely to lie about the results of the coin toss — but only when doing so worked to the benefit of the whole group.

So, love feelings: They make us lie to the people around us in order to make them happy. Haven’t all the famous seducers of our history and literature, the Don Juans and the Ryan Phillippes from Cruel Intentions, just been charming deceivers? Literature confirms. Carry on, researchers.

Study: The ‘Love’ Hormone Turns You Into a Liar