The Art of Doing

How to Deal with Us and Them?

One biologist, two prairie voles, some hormones and an explanation. Why we love and hate and what we can do about it.


Why do we always see the world as Us versus Them when it only leads to cronyism and prejudice and, at its worst, bigotry, war and genocide?

This may sound strange, but it starts with love.

But what is love?

Biologists have some theories. You can read plenty of articles about the neuropeptide oxytocin dubbed with some super-cute nicknames, including “the love molecule” and “the cuddle chemical.” These simplistic, feel-good labels do a disservice to oxytocin, which along with its partner peptide, vasopressin, serve as the hormonal glue that keeps humans and other animals sticking together in couples, families, packs and even nation states.

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