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

The FDA Admits That Prior to 2011 Over 70% of U.S. Chickens Contained Cancer-Causing Arsenic
2015-03-04 20:32
Prior to 2011, the cancer-causing toxic chemical Roxarsone, which in high doses could kill you, was being added to chicken feed on purpose, giving store-bought chicken the illusion of healthy coloring and plump appearance. Shockingly, this was the case with more than 70 percent of all U.S. chickens! A recent article was published stating that this continued to be the ...
The Truth About Starbucks New Coconut Milk: It Isn’t Really Coconut Milk
2015-03-03 22:14
In an attempt to appeal to the non-dairy crowd, Starbucks is bringing “coconut milk” to the masses. After a successful trial run in select cities at the behest of their customers, Starbucks has decided to push forward with their dairy alternative. Providing a non-dairy alternative to dairy and soy is the second most requested customer idea of all time from MyStarbucksIdea.com, ...
USDA on board with shipping U.S. chickens to China for processing, then re-entry to States for human consumption
2015-03-03 21:32
“Chinese chicken” will soon have a whole new meaning, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently gave the green-light to four chicken processing plants in China, allowing chicken raised and slaughtered in the U.S. to be exported to China for processing, and then shipped back to the U.S. and sold on grocery shelves here. Furthermore, the imported processed ...
Feinstein: Netanyahu does not speak for all Jews
2015-03-03 21:52
US Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an “arrogant” man who does not speak for all Jews. The Jewish lawmaker made the remarks in an interview with CNN on Sunday ahead of Netanyahu's controversial visit to the United States. The Israeli premier arrived in Washington, DC, on Sunday night ...
Netanyahu to US: Don’t negotiate ‘bad deal’ with Iran
2015-03-03 21:12
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on the United States not to negotiate “a very bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear energy program. Speaking at a joint session of the US Congress in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, Netanyahu said, “We’ve been told for over a year that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a ...
More News »