Nasally administered oxytocin causes trusting behavior

Subjects played a game in which “investors” could give money to “trustees”. They could make more money this way, but only if the trustee honored the investor’s trust by sharing the profits equally.

29 investors were given a nasal spray of oxytocin, and 29 weren’t. 13 (45%) of the oxytocin investors invested highly, but only 6 (21%) of the control group did.

“The researchers, led by Dr Ernest Fehr, say this suggests the chemical promotes social interaction, rather than simply encouraging people to take risks.” — BBC

The oxytocin had no effect if the trustee was a computer, instead of a person. Oxytocin had no effect on trustees.

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