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Military about to drug soldiers with male bonding hormone?

Thursday, October 07, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: military, hormones, health news


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(NaturalNews) A new study in the journal Science suggests that the same hormone that underlies love also helps create the sense of solidarity that soldiers experience when they feel united with each other against the enemy.

"Our study shows that oxytocin not only plays a role in modulating cooperation and benevolence, but also in driving aggression," said researcher Carsten De Dreu of the University of Amsterdam.

Prior research has shown that oxytocin, also known as the "love hormone," contributes to protectionist behavior, especially in mammalian mothers. De Dreu and colleagues wanted to explore whether the hormone might also play a role in making men more aggressive toward outsiders. De Dreu calls the pairing of in-group solidarity and out-group aggression "parochial altruism," or the "tend and defend" response.

The researchers recruited men to take a nasal spray of either oxytocin or a placebo immediately before participating in each of three different financial games. In the first, the men had to choose whether to keep a certain sum of money for themselves or to put it into a group pool for a lesser individual and greater collective benefit. The researchers found that oxytocin significantly increased men's tendency to behave cooperatively. A second experiment repeated the experiment while controlling for participants' inherent tendency toward cooperation, and found that oxytocin affected people with both cooperative and uncooperative personalities.

In the third experiment, participants had an opportunity to either cooperate or not cooperate with an outside group. Oxytocin made men significantly less likely to cooperate with outsiders.

The researchers noted that while oxytocin appeared to make men in the third study more aggressive, it did not contribute to offensive violence, only defensive violence such as "preemptive strikes."

De Dreu warned against dosing soldiers with oxytocin in order to increase their sense of solidarity with their fellow troops.

"Giving soldiers oxytocin might make them more cooperative towards their comrades, even willing to self-sacrifice," he said. "But it should [also] make them more likely to launch a preemptive strike against the competing army, with conflict-escalation being the most likely consequence."

Sources for this story include: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7818276/L... http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life/rela....

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