Thursday, June 02, 2005

Neuroeconomics of Trust

The Economist reports on how sniffing a spray containing a hormone called oxytocin increases a person's level of trust in others in a trust game.
Of the investors who were sprayed with oxytocin, 45% invested the maximum of 12 units, while only 21% of those who received the control spray did so. On average, the oxytocin-sprayed group transferred 17% more money to their trustees than the controls.

But the sum returned did not depend on whether there was oxytocin in the spray a trustee had sniffed--as it might have been expected to if oxytocin promoted generally sociable behaviour, rather than trust specifically.

Lynne Kiesling has more analysis.

Anyone see a resemblance between this and the latest Alias plot line dealing with water and mind control?


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