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

 

Half Empty: Fonterra's 2017 Opening Forecast Below Expectations

Fonterra Cooperative Group raised its forecast farmgate milk payout for next season by less than expected as the world's largest dairy exporter predicts lower prices will crimp production and supply will pick up. The New Zealand dollar fell. More>>

ALSO:

Pest Control: Mouse Blitz Team Leaves For Antipodes

The Million Dollar Mouse project to rid Antipodes Island of mice is underway with the departure of a rodent eradication team to the remote nature reserve and World Heritage Area. More>>

Gongs Got: Canon Media Awards & NZ Radio Awards Happen

Radio NZ: RNZ website The Wireless, which is co-funded by NZ On Air, was named best website, while Toby Manhire and Toby Morris won the best opinion general writing section for their weekly column on rnz.co.nz and Tess McClure won the best junior feature writer section. More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Budget: Debt Focus Risks Losing Opportunity To Stoke Economy

The Treasury is likely to upgrade its forecasts for economic growth in Budget 2016 next week but Finance Minister Bill English has already signalled that more of his focus is on debt repayment than on fiscal stimulus or tax cuts... More>>

ALSO:

Fulton Hogan's Heroes: Managing Director Nick Miller Resigns

Fulton Hogan managing director Nick Miller will leave the privately owned construction company after seven years in charge. The Dunedin-based company has kicked off a search for a replacement, and Miller will stay on at the helm until March next year, or until a successor has been appointed and a transition period completed. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Electricity, Executions, And Bob Dylan

The Electricity Authority has unveiled the final version of its pricing plan for electricity transmission. This will change the way transmission prices (which comprise about 10% of the average power bill) are computed, and will add hundreds of dollars a year to power bills for many ordinary consumers. More>>

ALSO:

Half Empty: Fonterra NZ, Australia Milk Collection Drops In Season

Fonterra Cooperative Group says milk collection is down in New Zealand and Australia, its two largest markets, in the first 11 months of the season during a period of weak dairy prices. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news