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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hormone Dose May Increase People's Trust in Strangers

New York Times:

In a finding that may someday benefit the socially manipulative as well as the socially awkward, Swiss researchers are reporting that doses of a natural hormone significantly increased the level of trust that people placed in strangers who were handling their money. Scientists have long known that the hormone used in the study - oxytocin, which circulates widely in the body during childbirth and lactation - prompts warm relations and mating in other mammals. But they say the Swiss study, which appears in today's issue of the journal Nature, is the first to show that a simple administration of a hormone in humans can consistently alter something as socially sensitive as trust. The new finding could help researchers not only understand the biological system underlying social judgments but also perhaps correct it when it goes awry, as in conditions like social phobia or autism, scientists say. In the study, the participants played an investment game with anonymous partners. Those who were given oxytocin invested more money with the partners than did those who did not receive the hormone, the researchers found. Dr. Ernst Fehr, a professor of economics at the University of Zurich and the senior author of the paper, said, 'Most experts were very pessimistic' that the study would find anything of significance. But he said that the clear results should 'induce a new wave of oxytocin research in humans.'
I am sure there will be a new wave of research into this. I can see Casinos being very interested, for one. This discovery certainly has troubling implications.


Blogger The probligo said...

There was a news item here a couple years back on a similar theme. Don't expect to find a reliable link to it - but it was rather "funny peculiar".

The reason why there is no "testosterone pheromone base" personal products?

Before I give the reason, think of the immediate possiblities - mind boggling on all counts.

Turns out that the pure product smells rather like old smelly socks (sox?).

6/03/2005 01:45:00 AM  

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