How can ‘Islamophobia’ and xenophobia be reduced and altruism strengthened? Researchers have shown in a new study that the bonding hormone ‘oxytocin’ together with social justice norms can significantly increases people’s willingness to welcome and donate money to the invaders, even among people who tend to have a skeptical attitude towards Muslims.
Science Daily (h/t Liz) Prof. Rene Hurlemann from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Bonn Medical Center It appears that pairing oxytocin with a social norm can help counter the effects of xenophobia/Islamophobia by enhancing altruistic behavior toward refugees,
It appears that pairing oxytocin with a social norm can help counter the effects of xenophobia by enhancing altruistic behavior toward refugees. “The combined enhancement of oxytocin and peer influence could diminish selfish motives,” says Hurlemann.
In an experiment involving over 100 participants, the subjects’ personal attitudes towards refugees were assessed in a questionnaire. Then half of the group received the bonding hormone oxytocin via a nasal spray, while the other half of the group received a placebo before they were exposed to the donation task where they had to decide how much of their 50 euros they wanted to donate to locals or refugees.
Under the influence of oxytocin, the individuals who tended to show a positive attitude towards refugees doubled their donations to both the locals and the refugees. However, oxytocin had no effect in individuals who expressed a rather defensive attitude towards migrants: In those participants, the tendency to donate was very low to locals and refugees alike.
“Oxytocin clearly increases generosity towards those in need, however, if this altruistic fundamental attitude is missing, the hormone alone cannot create it,” says Hurlemann.
The result of those given oxytocin. was astounding. “Now, even people with negative attitudes towards migrants donated up to 74 percent more to refugees than in the previous round,” reports Nina Marsh.
Through the combined administration of oxytocin with a social norm, the donations for refugees in those skeptical towards migrants nearly reached half of the sums donated by the group, which showed a positive attitude towards refugees.
“Given the right circumstances, oxytocin may help promote the acceptance and integration of Muslim freeloaders, rapists, and jihadists into Western cultures,” says Hurlemann.