Bringing Oxytocin Into The Room: Notes On The Neurophysiology Of Conflict

Clearly, aggression and war are “hard-wired” into the brain, but so are empathy and collaboration. Recent research has emphasized the cooperative aspects of warlike behavior, which forms a core element not only in gangs, but sports teams, organizations and nation states, which use internal cooperation as an aid to external competition. Indeed, modern warfare can be seen as requiring a high level of internal collaborative activity….


This suggests again that building empathy and “identification with the enemy” will prove useful as techniques for countering aggressive behavior. There is also research suggesting that whereas women may be better at brokering harmony within groups, men may be better at making peace between groups. These techniques suggest that it may be possible to identify more precisely which approach will work best in a given setting to reduce warfare and aggression.  

by Kenneth Cloke