The Trust Molecule

Why are some people trustworthy while others cheat and lie, some generous and others coldhearted louts? Part of the answer may lie in the hormone oxytocin. In an excerpt from The Moral Molecule, Paul J. Zakon the new science of morality— and how it could be used to create a more virtuous society.

 

Research that I have done over the past decade suggests that a chemical messenger called oxytocin accounts for why some people give freely of themselves and others are coldhearted louts, why some people cheat and steal and others you can trust with your life, why some husbands are more faithful than others, and why women tend to be nicer and more generous than men. In our blood and in the brain, oxytocin appears to be the chemical elixir that creates bonds of trust not just in our intimate relationships but also in our business dealings, in politics and in society at large…