Are you like this some days? Or maybe more compassionate than these two knuckleheads.
Are you empathetic or aggressive or both? Researchers found that brain chemicals, oxytocin and vasopression, are the biochemical links between empathy and aggression.
It turns out that we can feel both at the same time. We can be kind to a stranger and if they are under threat we can flip the switch and become aggressive and violent to protect them.
I used to call this "mamma bear syndrome". I would stroll my daughter around and if I thought that anyone would harm her I would have defended her to the death. We are wired to think that way so we can protect our young.
The researchers call this natural phenomenon "primitive aggression".
Oxytocin and vasopressin play a role in the mamma bear response.
Researchers found variants in the vasopressin and oxytocin receptor genes. Participants could become empathetic and aggressive when the person under threat was close to them and the same thing happened with complete strangers.
They are trying to study empathy-motivated aggression in order to understand terrorism. Why would someone be motivated to commit a deplorable act as we have seen in the news?
Researchers have found that terrorists live in marginalized environments and when they commit a horrible act the terrorist organization helps the remaining family members of the martyrs. Martyrs can be motivated by a perceived empathetic impulse to destroy others or right a perceived wrong.