Scientists from China have shown that the key role in the desire to take revenge on the member of another group for the pain caused to the members of their teams, playing oxytocin: its level in the saliva increases when observation of the suffering of loved ones. To do this, scientists conducted an experiment in which participants watched as his partner for the group and member of the rival group beat each other current. Oxytocin is also applied to the involved areas of the brain, and together, the results indicate that revenge in the first place is due to empathy. Article published in the journal eLife.
According to earlier psychological theories, the desire for intergroup revenge can be attributed to two separate factors. On the one hand, it is due to affection or love for one’s own group (intrinsic motivation), and with another — the hostility and hatred of the other competing group (external motivation). These factors are independent and can occur together or separately, but in each case one of them is likely to motivate more than the other. In addition, the attachment to their group and hostility to the foreign group and also two different neural mechanism and greater involvement of one of them can indicate which of the two factors considered to be decisive.
To clarify leading motivating mechanism in intergroup revenge decided by scientists under the leadership of Shihua Han (Shihui Han) from Peking University. They focused on two indicators of reaction to intergroup conflict: brain activity and the level of oxytocin neuropeptide and peptide hormone involved in the regulation of social behavior.
Specifically for their study, the researchers developed a new experimental paradigm in the form of team games. In the first part of six of the participants (in total, the study involved 40 men) were divided into two groups and let them play a little card game in order for the participants of each group formed a close team.
In the second part of the game was already three: two from one group (single — player, and the second observer) and one player from the other group. In this part the participants of the two groups played a game based on the classic Stroop effect: they had to determine the colors appearing on the screen the words, while the words themselves point to different colors. For example, on the screen there was displayed with yellow letters, the word “green”: correct answer in this case was “green” not “yellow”. The player who correctly named the word or called it faster won, after which it was allowed to punish the loser by giving him a talk — either painful or not. In the control condition, shocks were administered by computer.