Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


The reason we share food

1 November 2012

The reason we share food

A University of Waikato researcher is looking at the bio-psychological link between ‘love-hormone’ oxytocin and the sharing of food.

“As a society we share resources even when they are extremely scarce,” says biological scientist Dr Pawel Olszewski.

“Remarkably, almost on a daily basis - in the family or in other social groups - mammals are willing to share one of the most crucial resources; food.”

Most animals share food, but to date there has been little research exploring the role of oxytocin on what is seen as entirely social behaviour.

Dr Olszewski has received a three-year, $760,000 Marsden Fund research grant and will undertake a series of experiments involving the application of oxytocin and its influence on the willingness to share food.

“We speculate that the hormone oxytocin, a hunger suppressant that also increases social interactions and feelings of altruism and love, is responsible. It’s one of the ways of explaining the phenomenon,” says Dr Olszewski.

In one of the experiments he will use intranasal oxytocin spray on human subjects and gauge its effect on their willingness to share.

“Once we decide to share, at the same time oxytocin kicks in and we no longer feel hunger which allows us to share our resources - this elevates your status in a social group and secures your children’s well-being.

“We hope to find out if there is some mechanism that regulates this willingness to share food. It is not a decision that drops upon us; it is to a large extent driven by our biology.”

The Marsden Fund is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the Marsden Fund Council, and funded by the New Zealand Government. It supports projects in the sciences, technology, engineering and maths, social sciences and the humanities.

The University of Waikato recieved six Marsden Fund grants.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Power Outages, Roads Close: Easter Storm Moving Down Country

The NZ Transport Agency says storm conditions at the start of the Easter break are making driving hazardous in Auckland and Northland and it advises people extreme care is needed on the regions’ state highways and roads... More>>

ALSO:

Houses (& Tobacco) Lead Inflation: CPI Up 0.3% In March Quarter

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in the March 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. Higher tobacco and housing prices were partly countered by seasonally cheaper international air fares, vegetables, and package holidays. More>>

ALSO:

Notoriously Reliable Predictions: Budget To Show Rise In Full-Time Income To 2018: English

This year’s Budget will forecast wage increases through to 2018 amounting to a $10,500 a year increase in average full time earnings over six years to $62,200 a year, says Finance Minister Bill English in a speech urging voters not to “put all of this at risk” by changing the government. More>>

ALSO:

Prices Up, Volume Down: March NZ House Sales Drop 10% As Loan Curbs Bite

New Zealand house sales dropped 10 percent in March from a year earlier as the Reserve Bank’s restrictions on low-equity mortgages continue to weigh on sales of cheaper property. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Chorus To Appeal Copper Pricing Judgment

Chorus will appeal a High Court ruling upholding the Commerce Commission’s determination setting the regulated prices on the telecommunications network operator’s copper lines. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Cars: Precautionary Recalls Announced For Toyota Vehicles

Toyota advises that a number of its New Zealand vehicles are affected by a series of precautionary global recalls. Toyota New Zealand General Manager Customer Services Spencer Morris stressed that the recalls are precautionary. More>>

ALSO:

'Gardening Club': Air Freight Cartel Nets Almost $12 Million In Penalties

The High Court in Auckland has today ordered Swiss company Kuehne + Nagel International AG to pay a penalty of $3.1 million plus costs for breaches of the Commerce Act. Kuehne + Nagel’s penalty brings the total penalties ordered in this case to $11.95 million ... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: Revenue Below Projections

Core Crown tax revenue has increased by $1.9 billion (or 5.0%) compared to the same time last year. However this was $1.1 billion less than expected and is reflected across most tax types, continuing the pattern of recent months. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news