Oxytocin modulates selection of allies in intergroup conflict

Carsten K.W. de Dreu, Lindred L. Greer, Michel J.J. Handgraaf, Shaul Shalvi, Gerben A. van Kleef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


In intergroup competition and conflict, humans benefit from coalitions with strong partners who help them to protect their in-group and prevail over competing out-groups. Here, we link oxytocin, a neuropeptide produced in the hypothalamus, to ally selection in intergroup competition. In a double-blind placebocontrolled experiment, males self-administered oxytocin or placebo, and made selection decisions about six high-threat and six low-threat targets as potential allies in intergroup competition. Males given oxytocin rather than placebo viewed high-threat targets as more useful allies and more frequently selected them into their team than low-threat targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150-1154
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1731
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Coalition formation
  • Decision-making
  • Hormones
  • Person perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology (all)
  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


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