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Male sex drive to blame for conflicts

It’s official. Male sex drive is at the root of most conflicts worldwide — from football hooliganism to world wars, says a new study.

world Updated: Jan 23, 2012 23:30 IST

It’s official. Male sex drive is at the root of most conflicts worldwide — from football hooliganism to world wars, says a new study.


Researchers at Oxford University's Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology claim it is actually the “male warrior” instinct, which has helped men evolve to be aggressive to outsiders, the British media reported.

In evolutionary terms, an instinct for violence against others helped early men improve their status and gain more access to mates, but in modern terms this can translate into largescale wars, say the researchers.

“A solution to conflict, which is an all too common problem in societies today, remains elusive. One reason for this might be the difficulty we have in changing our mindset, which has evolved over thousands of years.

“Our review of the academic literature suggests that the human mind is shaped in a way that tends to perpetuate conflict with ‘outsiders’,” Prof Mark van Vugt, who led the study, was quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying.

In contrast, women are naturally equipped with a “tend and befriend” attitude, meaning they seek to resolve conflicts peacefully in order to protect their children, according to the researchers.

The study, published in the ‘Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B’, is a review of evolutionary evidence for the so-called “male warrior hypothesis”.

The findings suggest that in every culture throughout history, men have been more likely than women to use violence when confronted by people they saw as outsiders.