When couples play board games or take a painting class together, their bodies release oxytocin, the “hugging hormone.” But men wielding paintbrushes released twice as much or more as the level of women painters and couples playing games, a new study with 20 married/cohabiting couples has found.

When they say that men painting with their female partner releases more oxytocin, I believe that this is just regular cognitive dissonance. Men are performing an action that they otherwise wouldn't (creating dissonance) would reason to themselves that they enjoy it in order to resolve the dissonance, leading to higher levels of oxytocin.

I studied something similar in a Social Psychology class. (Paraphrasing because it's been a while:)There was one study where participants were asked to do some mundane, menial task and either given $20 or given $1. On their way out they had to explain to a confederate what they have to do and how much fun it is. The participants who were only paid $1 reported having more fun than those paid $20 because they resolved the dissonance (lack of pay) by convincing themselves that they actually had fun.

Perhaps that is happening in the 'painting' study as well. Just a theory.

/r/science Thread Link - baylor.edu