Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oxytocin makes people trusting, but not gullible, study suggests

Date:
August 25, 2010
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Oxytocin (OT) is a hormone that plays an important role in social behavior -- it has even been nicknamed "the love hormone" and "liquid trust." Increased levels of OT have been associated with greater caring, generosity, and trust. But does OT increase people's trust in anybody or does it act more selectively? Recent findings suggest that OT fosters trust, but not gullibility: OT may make individuals more trusting, but only in certain situations.

Oxytocin (OT) is a hormone that plays an important role in social behavior—it has even been nicknamed “the love hormone” and “liquid trust.” Increased levels of OT have been associated with greater caring, generosity, and trust. But does OT increase people’s trust in just anybody or does it act more selectively?

Psychological scientist Moïra Mikolajczak from the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and her colleagues investigated just how trusting OT can make us. In this experiment, volunteers received either a placebo or OT nasal spray. Then, they played a trust game in which they received a certain amount of money which they could share with a partner (any amount shared with the partner would then triple). The partner then decides what to do the money—they can keep it all for themselves or split the amount with the giver. If the volunteer is trusting, they will share more money with their partner (in the hopes of having some of it returned to them) than volunteers who are not as trusting. The participants played the trust game against a computer and virtual partners (which were supposedly in another room), some of whom appeared reliable (they seemed likely to share the money with the participants) and some of whom appeared unreliable (they seemed likely to keep the money for themselves).

The results, reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, showed that volunteers who received the OT nasal spray were more trusting of the computer and the reliable partners—that is, they offered more money to the computer and the reliable partner than did volunteers who received the placebo nasal spray. However, OT did not have an effect when it came to sharing with a seemingly unreliable partner—the volunteers were not generous towards a potentially unreliable partner, regardless of which nasal spray they received.

These findings suggest that OT fosters trust, but not gullibility: OT may make individuals more trusting, but only in certain situations. The authors conclude that “oxytocin is not the magical ‘trust elixir’ described in the news, on the Internet, or even by some influential researchers.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Moïra Mikolajczak et al. Oxytocin Makes People Trusting, Not Gullible. Psychological Science, (in press)

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Oxytocin makes people trusting, but not gullible, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100824103535.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2010, August 25). Oxytocin makes people trusting, but not gullible, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100824103535.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Oxytocin makes people trusting, but not gullible, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100824103535.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins