A Belgian study into the effects of oxytocin appear to indicate that concerns over the potential for politicians and buisnesses to exploit the trusting properties of the hormone may be overstated. The team, working from the Catholic University of Louvain, appear to have demonstrated that oxytocin increases trust without increasing outright gullibility. In other words, oxytocin only works in certain situations and contexts, namely when the person has already reason to belive that another person is reliable and trustworthy.
The participants were paired up with a computer and virtual partners, some of whom appeared to be reliable (the type to share the money) and some who appeared unreliable (those likely to keep it all for themselves).
Compared to participants who were given the placebo, those who received the oxytocin offered more money to the computer and the reliable partners. However, those in the oxytocin group were no more likely than those who received the placebo to share money with a seemingly unreliable partner.
Oxytocin increases trust, not gullibility
In an article posted in February for the esteemed science journal ‘Nature’, Dr Larry Young, an expert on the effects of oxytocin on the brain wrote the following :
Experiments have shown that a nasal squirt of oxytocin enhances trust and tunes people into others’ emotions….Internet entrepreneurs are already marketing products such as Enhanced Liquid Trust, a cologne-like mixture of oxytocin and pheromones ‘designed to boost the dating and relationship area of your life’.
Click to read more about how Oxytocin Enhanced Liquid Trust can boost your relationships with others.
An oxytocin study being carried out at the Stanford University School of Medicine hopes to discover what role, if any, the hormone plays in causing autism. The importance of oxytocin in forming social bonds is now widely documented. At this stage, the inference that the ‘trust hormone’ might be lacking or in some way not working effectively in those with autism, is still no more than optimistic speculation. If the researchers do, however, discover some kind of relationship, it is hoped that at the very least, blood tests could be introduced to enable a more objective and earlier diagnosis, and perhaps even the development of the first effective pharmaceutical treatments for autism.
A study published recently in the Journal of Theoretical Biology warned that women seeking committed males should avoid having sex on the first date. The reason? The rush of Oxytocin released into the female brain after sex can trick her into bonding too early with the man, before she has had a chance to weigh up his suitability as a long term mate.
More about the study linking sex, oxytocin and bonding ..