Oxytocin promotes altruistic punishment

Aydogan, Gökhan; Furtner, Nadja C.; Kern, Bianca; Jobst, Andrea; Müller, Norbert and Kocher, Martin G.ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6792-1192 (2017) Oxytocin promotes altruistic punishment. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12 (11), pp. 1740-1747. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsx101

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The role of neuromodulators in the enforcement of cooperation is still not well understood. Here, we provide evidence that intranasal applied oxytocin, an important hormone formodulating social behavior, enhances the inclination to sanction freeriders in a social dilemma situation. Contrary to the notion of oxytocin being a pro-social hormone, we found that participants treated with oxytocin exhibited an amplification of self-reported negative social emotions such as anger towards free-riders,
ultimately resulting in highermagnitude and frequency of punishment of free-riders compared to placebo. Furthermore, we found initial evidence that oxytocin contributes to the positive effects of a punishment institution by rendering cooperation preferable in the oxytocin condition for even themost selfish players when punishment was available. Together, these findings imply that the neural circuits underlying altruistic punishment are partly targeted by the oxytonergic systemand highlight the importance of neuromodulators in group cohesion and normenforcement within social groups.

Item Type: Article in Academic Journal
Keywords: oxytocin, neuroendocrinology, social dilemma, altruistic punishment, norm enforcement
Research Units: Former Research Units (until 2020) > Insight Austria
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2017 12:01
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2018 12:34
DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsx101
ISSN: 1749-5016
URI: https://irihs.ihs.ac.at/id/eprint/4388

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