German researchers are experimenting with a drug that they say makes people more accepting and loving towards strangers.
So could oxytocin be used to change some European’s attitudes and encourage them to accept their new neighbours?
Yes, Hurlemann said.
His team assessed 100 people’s attitudes to migrants and gave them 50 euros which could be donated to locals or refugees.
In the first control experiment, experts found that Germans were more generous to migrants than locals.
“We were surprised that the participants in the first experiment donated around 20 per cent more to refugees than to local people in need,” said Nina Marsh from Professor Hurlemann’s team.
Half of the participants were then given oxytocin, which made people who already had a favourable attitude to migrants give more money – but did not change the attitude of people who had a negative outlook on migration and did not make them hand over more cash.
But when people who hed anti-immigration views were given the love hormone and shown how much cash others had given, they become significantly more generous.
“Now, even people with negative attitudes towards migrants donated up to 74 per cent more to refugees,” Nina Marsh added.
The research suggests that people could be made to be more generous to migrants through a combination of oxytocin and peer pressure.