Sunday, April 12, 2009

Maybe science IS against us ...

Inhalation of Childbirth Hormone Bolsters Trust

Researchers say people are more likely to trust others if they inhale a chemical called oxytocin. In an experiment, volunteers who inhaled oxytocin, a hormone involved in childbirth, were far more likely than to trust someone else with their money than people not exposed to the hormone.
Essence of trust now bottled to help bring out your own inner Elmer Gantry.

(via Liquid Trust”: the Perfect Scent for Liars)


steve said...

In Science News is a review of the book "Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond" in which Meg Daley Olmert argues that the cultivation of animals raises the oxytocin level in farmers and in pet owners. And that this produces a sense of calmness and of satisfaction and belonging. She goes further to speculate that the rising rates of nervousness and depression among urban dwellers is explained in part from lack of contact with animals and from oxytocin deprivation.

So... we need to be able to trust each other. And we need to be able to enjoy the pleasures of being social beings. We therefore need laws that punish all violations of trust so that the very thing that bonds us as a society is not undermined by sociopaths.

Gail said...

Interesting. That goes toward explaining some of the appeal of animals (dogs, horses, even chickens). I wonder if all the birds I have in my yard raises the oxytocin levels around here ...

I would think diet (indirectly contributed to by the distancing of ourselves from our food sources) also contributes to "the rising rates of nervousness and depression among urban dwellers."

Personally I'm attached to animals. I have dogs in my house and lots of birds (not to mention lots of lizards) in my yard. Growing up, at various times, we had goats, chickens, ducks, a monkey, a Toucan, and of course, parakeets. I've run into people who just don't like animals, though, hard as that is for me to understand.

As far as having "laws that punish all violations of trust," it's my impression that we have many such laws, but that we no longer attempt to use them against the very people who are in positions to do the most damage.Also there if very little public outcry against breaking of trust. Once the trust-breakers are rich enough, that's usually enough to stop, delay or mitigate any attempt at justice.

Steve, if you are the author of the Worry Wart website are you aware it's impossible to post a comment on your site (I've tried). And since there's no email listed, it's impossible to inform you of the problem, assuming you consider it a problem ...