Love hormone Oxytocin helps soldiers like each other and hate the enemy
2010-06-19 0:00

By Richard Alleyne | Telegraph.co.uk


Soldiers form loyal "Bands of Brothers" fighting and dying for each other because they have the same instincts that cause mothers to ferociously protect their newborns, a study suggests.


Researchers have found that in the heat of battle they have the same chemicals running through their bloodstreams as protective mothers, meaning they develop incredibly strong bonds with each other but become extremely aggressive to outsiders.

The effect resolves around the hormone oxytocin which is released at times of stress and when people socialise with each other.

But the scientists have found that this chemical, often referred to as the love or bonding hormone, also makes them – like mothers – incredibly aggressive to outsiders.

Using a computer simulation game they found that volunteers given a spray of the hormone bonded more quickly and deeply with their own group but became much more hostile to outsiders.

Dr Carsten De Dreu, of the University of Amsterdam, said that the phenomenon was known as "parochial altruism" or "tend and defend".
This meant that boosted levels of oxytocin produced "in-group love" and "out-group aggression", he said.

Dr De Dreu, who published the findings in Science, said: "Oxytocin is a double edged sword. It makes you kinder to your group but more aggressive to those outside."

Dr De Dreu thinks that the production of oxytocin, which increases at times of stress and in new mothers, has evolved since hunter gathering times when food was scarce and groups had to compete to survive.
He said: "Being aggressive to threatening out-groups makes you a hero, loyal and a patriot to your own group."

Holly Arrow, an expert in the psychology of war at the University of Oregon, said: "Oxytocin is perhaps an important pathway that bonds men together and makes them ready to defend the group."
In three experiments, all on male volunteers, they compared the choices of individuals who received a dose of oxytocin via nasal spray with those who received a placebo.

The volunteers were assigned to three-person groups and introduced to a game in which they made confidential decisions that had financial consequences for themselves, their fellow group members and the competing groups.

The results indicated that oxytocin drives a “tend and defend” response, promoting in-group trust and co-operation and defensive, but not offensive, aggression toward competing out-groups.

The hormone appears to have this effect regardless of how naturally co-operative people are.

Article from: Telegraph.co.uk



Related Articles
’Good Job’ - Soldier lauded for executing Afghan
Sleep Problems Are Common in US Soldiers Returning from Wartime Deployment (No, really?)
No sex please, we’re soldiers
Raw Footage - Israeli Soldiers Killing Innocent People On The Flotilla (Video)
U.S. military reminds soldiers they are at war, not in "amusement park."
Dutch furious at U.S. general for blaming gay soldiers
’I was chemically castrated’
US Admits Chemical Weapons Tests (BBC, 2002)
Kisses unleash chemicals that ease stress levels
Skin churns out marijuana-like brain chemicalsSkin churns out marijuana-like brain chemicals
Chemicals From Teflon Found in Human Breast Milk
Estrogen-like chemical in plastic could be harming the development of children’s brains and reproductive organs
Pentagon Explores ’Human Fear’ Chemicals; Scare-Sensors, ’Contagious’ Stress in the Works?
Drug could turn soldiers into super-survivors
Scientists Identify Genes that Could Turn Ordinary People into Supergeniuses (or Mindless Drones)
Genetic Advances To Pioneer Super-Human Elite?


Latest News from our Front Page

As Greece Falls, Will Those With Gardens Survive?
2015-07-06 19:35
Greeks don't want austerity, but the future is bleak and unknown. As of Friday, grocery shelves were being stripped bare of staple cooking goods, and pharmacies ran out of crucial medicines like thyroxine (thyroid treatment). More than half of those items are imported, but with banking plugs, companies are unable to pay suppliers. Things are frozen; stopped, and tens of thousands ...
Rise of the super soldier: Liquid armour, indestructible exoskeletons and weapons that never miss revealed as the future of warfare
2015-07-06 19:17
War has been one of the greatest spurs to science in history. Developments as diverse and far-reaching as space travel, superglue, duct tape and microwaves owe their origins beneath camouflage netting and behind sandbags. Today's military innovations, though, are focused not just on getting the job done, but doing so as quickly as possible and bringing the soldiers home to their ...
Europe Survived War And Depression: Can She Survive Invasion?
2015-07-06 17:43
However the Greek crisis ends, whether with Athens leaving the Eurozone, or submitting and accepting austerity at the dictates of its creditors, the European Union appears headed for an existential crisis. Greece borrowed and spent beyond its means, like New York City in the ’70s, and Detroit, Illinois, and Puerto Rico today. But the crisis of Europe is about more than ...
Professor: Reason Itself Is A White Male Construct
2015-07-04 3:55
A philosophy and religion professor at Syracuse University gave an interview to The New York Times Thursday in which he critiqued the notion of pure reason as simply being a “white male Euro-Christian construction.” Prof. John Caputo was being interviewed by fellow philosophy professor George Yancy for the 13th installment of an interview series Yancy conducts with philosophers regarding racial topics. Given its emphasis on first principles ...
The Broken Window Fallacy
2015-07-04 3:48
Youtube description: This short video explains one of the most persistent economic fallacies of our day. Source: youtube.com
More News »