Scientists find link between oxytocin levels and generosity in old age
Scientists at Claremont University have identified a link between increased generosity in old age and the neurotransmitter oxytocin. Older people with elevated levels of oxytocin are more likely to participate in charity and enjoy life. For the study, 100 participants were invited, aged 18 to 99 years. A certain amount were paid to participate and were shown a video where a father talks about how his two-year-old son is dying of cancer - this kind of content actively stimulates the release of oxytocin.
The participantss were asked to donate some of the money to a childhood cancer charity to measure prosocial behavior and were also asked about their emotional state. Older people released more oxytocin in response to the video than younger people. They also reported greater satisfaction with life and were generally more willing to help others.