Thursday, June 09, 2005

oxytocin - new hormone increases trust and risktaking

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Scientists at the University of Zurich have discovered a human hormone that is involved in the process of trust between people. Researchers showed that people who had inhaled the hormone Oxytocin were more likely to trust other people with their money and make business deals. Exhibited in an experiment in which research subjects were given real money before being placed in investment situations with other people, 13 out of 29 Oxytocin subjects handed over all of their money, while only 6 of the 29 given placebos exhibited the same behavior. This means that if people somehow inhaled this cheap and readily available chemical they would be over twice as likely to do business with other people.

Oxytocin is a hormone that is usually released when people are having sex, and also in situations of mother-child bonding. The results of this study, while downplayed by the researchers, could be apocalypic. Imagine a department store with Oxytocin fanned through the air conditioning system, and people twice as ready to buy just about anything as long as another person sold it to them, or even the use of Oxytocin in business relations between world leaders. You could wear it on your neck when you go to a club, and be more likely to pick up girls. Indeed, Oxytocin = world domination.

The researchers noted that while Oxytocin leads to increased risk-taking in situations involving other people, the same effects were not found when the people were dealing with a computer.

source articles at scientific american and

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