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Horm Behav. 2011 Jul;60(2):148-51. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2011.04.008. Epub 2011 May 8.

Oxytocin infusion increases charitable donations regardless of monetary resources.

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Center for Neuroeconomics Studies, Claremont Graduate University, USA.


This study examined if the prosocial effects of oxytocin (OT) extend from individuals to a generalized other who is in need. Participants played a series of economic games to earn money and were presented with an opportunity to donate a portion of their earnings to charity. OT did not significantly increase the decision to donate, but among the 36% of participants who did donate, people infused with OT were found to donate 48% more to charity than those given a placebo. The amount of money earned in the experiment had no effect on whether or not a donation was made or the size of a donation. This is the first study showing that OT increases generosity in unilateral exchanges directed toward philanthropic social institutions, as opposed to immediate benefits directed at individuals or groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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