Does ‘love hormone’ also foster trust?

August 25th, 2010 - 11:59 am ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 25 (IANS) Does oxytocin, dubbed the love hormone, also foster trust?
Psychological scientist Moïra Mikolajczak from the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium, and colleagues investigated this possibility. In this experiment, volunteers received either a placebo or oxytoxin nasal spray.

Then, they played a trust game in which they received a certain amount of money which they could share with a partner (which would then triple), according to a Université catholique de Louvain statement.

The partner then decides what to do with 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).

The results, reported in Psychological Science, showed that volunteers who received oxytoxin nasal spray offered more money to the computer and the reliable partner than did volunteers who received the placebo nasal spray.

However, the ‘love hormone’ 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 oxytoxin fosters trust, but not gullibility.

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