Oxytocin

The myth of oxytocin as the “hug hormone” isn’t dead. - Brian Resnick

Oxytocin

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Oxytocin, the so-called “hug hormone,” is way more sophisticated than we thought

In a memorable stunt to kick off his 2011 TEDGlobal talk, neuroeconomist Paul Zak stepped onstage wielding a syringe filled with what he nicknamed “the moral molecule.” The clear liquid, which he then sprayed dramatically in the air, contained oxytocin, a hormone that was known to induce labor in pregnant women and stimulate the production of breast milk for the baby.

Zak promised the audience it could do much more. A spray of oxytocin up the nose, he said, could make people more trusting, more empathetic, and, therefore, more moral.

Zak was famous for a 2005 Nature paper that found that people who got a nasal blast of oxytocin became more trusting of others in a money-sharing…

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Last Updated : Sunday, February 28, 2021