Oxytocin promotes coordinated out-group attack during intergroup conflict in humans

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Oxytocin promotes coordinated out-group attack during intergroup conflict in humans

Type: Article / Letter to editor
Title: Oxytocin promotes coordinated out-group attack during intergroup conflict in humans
Author: Zhang, H.Gross, J.A.J.De, Dreu C.K.W.Ma, Y.
Journal Title: eLife
Volume: 8
Issue Date: 2019
Abstract: Intergroup conflict contributes to human discrimination and violence, but persists because individuals make costly contributions to their group’s fighting capacity. Yet, how group members effectively coordinate their contributions during intergroup conflict remains poorly understood. Here, we examine the role of oxytocin for (the coordination of) contributions to group attack or defense in multi-round, real-time feedback intergroup contests. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study with N = 480 males in Intergroup Attacker-Defender Contests, we found that oxytocin reduced contributions to attack and over time increased attacker’s within-group coordination of contributions. However, rather than becoming peaceful, attackers given oxytocin better tracked their rival’s historical defense and coordinated their contributions into well-timed and hence more profitable attacks. Our results reveal coordination of contributions as a critical component of successful attacks and subscribe to the possibility that oxytocin enables individuals to contribute to in-group efficiency and prosperity even when doing so implies outsiders are excluded or harmed.
Uri: https://elifesciences.org/articles/40698
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/69872
 

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