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Amélie Gourdon

Lecturer, Kingston University London

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Oxytocin, just a positive hormone?

I found Paul Zak's talk disturbingly blindsided me when I first watched it live in July. Recent research showed that at least oxytocin bounding properties have collateral effects which are not so positive. For example, by reinforcijng bounding, it increases preference for our ingroup and prejudice towards the outgroups (De Dreu, Greer, Van Kleef, Shalvi & Handgraaf, 2011).
You can read more about that study (and others regarding oxytocin) on Ed Yong's blog:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/01/11/no-love-for-outsiders-oxytocin-boosts-favouritism-towards-our-own-ethnic-or-cultural-group/

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  • Nov 1 2011: Well, it makes sense. Oxytocin is the hormone of cohesion, of emotional linkage, right? Now, the more a group is closely knit, the more oxytocin is generated within that group, the more its members will perceive their fellows as special, and treat them preferentially. That does not necessarily mean they will be aggressive towards outsiders, but it will take an extra mental effort to reduce their bias.

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