The Moral Molecule: The biochemistry of love and empathy

In his latest book The Moral Molecule, neuroeconomist Paul Zak describes oxytocin’s role in trust, bonding and even virtuous behaviour. New Scientist caught up with him about avoiding the term “the cuddle chemical” and trying not to make a bride faint on her wedding day..


Human oxytocin-mediated empathy involves, besides oxytocin, both serotonin and dopamine, which reinforce moral behaviours. This leads people to perform moral actions even when they don’t have to. In times of high stress, adrenaline inhibits the release of oxytocin. This also happens when testosterone levels are high


by Jessica Hamzelou