Oxytocin Sustains and Enables Cooperation within and Competition between Groups

[Speaker] De Dreu, Carsten:1
1:Leiden University (Netherlands)

Groups are the building block of human survival and prosperity across most of human history, and the strong reliance on groups suggests that humans became biologically prepared for group-living: to cooperate and trust and to rely on others. If true, we should find biological foundations for the skills humans needed for group life, such as the ability to mentalize, to set aside personal self-interest, to commit to group norms and values, and to adapt and innovate in groups. Recent work in neurobiology and social psychology converges on the possibility that the neuropeptide oxytocin provides such a biological foundation of human group living. I discuss this possibility by examining how hypothalamic release and/or infusion of oxytocin modulates (i) in-group favoritism and in-group love, (ii) compliance and adherence to group norms, and (iii) protection of the in-group against rivaling out-groups.
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