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Latino Daily News

Monday February 7, 2011

Is Racism Caused by Your Hormones?

A researcher and professor out of the University of Amsterdam, Carsten de Dreu, is exploring whether the hormone oxytocin, also known as the ‘love’ hormone, causes you to be racist.

The oxytocin hormone helps people bond, newborn mothers have high levels after giving birth and production of the hormone goes up when we have physical contact with people we like.  Overall the hormone makes people more generous and trusting.

Dreu is studying whether oxytocin levels influence our views on ‘out-groups’, i.e. ethnic groups that we don’t like, which are different for everyone depending on where you live.  For example, in Israel, Palestinians would be considered their out group. 

Preliminary research results are showing that the higher your level of the love hormone, the more you love people you always liked and disliked the out-group even more.  Therefore this hormone can make you even more racist – hence racism is not just how your are raised but some of it can be attributed to hormone levels.  More studies are planned to refine the idea that levels of the ‘love hormone’ may foster racism in certain people.