Although many research papers have earned oxytocin the title of 'the love hormone' or 'the cuddle hormone', several studies have suggested that oxytocin may even increase hostility to others perceived to be outside of the 'ingroup'. Research has even raised fears that the hormone may simply magnify existing social traits. So for example, whilst in most humans oxytocin might increase social bonding and trust in others, in certain people - such as psychopaths and violent anti-social criminals - it could even make their proclivities even more dangerous.
So researchers recently decided to conduct a thorough investigation into the effects of animals that are very like us, except that they are noted for competition and aggression (so perhaps very like us humans) - Rhesus monkeys. Would the inhalation of oxytocin nasal spray make the monkeys more or even less sociable?
The results of the study are encouraging. The monkeys given oxytocin spray were more likely to let other Rhesus monkeys have a sip of 'their' juice than before. The conclusion is that oxytocin could lead to more altruistic behaviour and kindness in the most hostile and aggressive humans.