Male sex drive to blame for wars - study

Last updated 14:45 25/01/2012
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BORN TO FIGHT: Men have an evolutionary drive to use violence against those they consider outsiders, scientists say.
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The male sex drive is to blame for most conflicts in the world, from football violence to war, scientists say.

A study on the "male warrior" hypothesis concludes that men have evolved to be aggressive towards outsiders.

The behaviour stems from their need to improve their status and gain more access to mates, and today it could be seen in conflicts between nations and clashes involving gangs, football fans and religious groups, the study said.

Women, on the other hand, had a "tend-and-befriend" attitude, meaning they would try to resolve conflicts peacefully to protect their children.

The study, Evolution and the Psychology of Intergroup Conflict: the male warrior hypothesis, was published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

"Conflict between human groups is a pervasive social problem, to which a solution remains elusive," Oxford University professor Mark van Vugt, who led the study, said.

"One reason for this might be the difficulty we have in changing our mindset, which has evolved over thousands of years."

The study said that in every culture throughout history, men were more likely to use violence against those they consider outsiders.

In modern times, this behaviour could often be counter-productive, resulting in full-scale wars between countries and other types of conflict.

Men's attitude was similar to the territorial behaviour of chimpanzees, which continuously monitor the borders of their territory.

"When a female is found, she may be persuaded to emigrate into the home troop.

"But when a male is found he is likely to be brutally beaten and possibly killed," van Vugt said.

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