Oxytocin modulates selection of allies in intergroup conflict

Oxytocin modulates selection of allies in intergroup conflict

By
Carsten De Dreu, Lindred Leura Greer, Michel Handgraaf, Shaul Shalvi, Gerben Van Kleef
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
2012, Vol. 279, Pages 1150-1154

In intergroup competition and conflict, humans benefit from coalitions with strong partners who help them to protect their in-group and prevail over competing out-groups. Here, we link oxytocin, a neuropeptide produced in the hypothalamus, to ally selection in intergroup competition. In a double-blind placebo-controlled experiment, males self-administered oxytocin or placebo, and made selection decisions about six high-threat and six low-threat targets as potential allies in intergroup competition. Males given oxytocin rather than placebo viewed high-threat targets as more useful allies and more frequently selected them into their team than low-threat targets.