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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Dec;1032:224-7.

The neurobiology of trust.

Author information

1
Center for Neuroeconomics Studies, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA 91711-6165, USA. paul.zak@cgu.edu

Abstract

This is the first report that endogenous oxytocin in humans is related to social behaviors, which is consistent with a large animal literature. Subjects are put into a social dilemma in which absent communication, cooperative behavior can benefit both parties randomly assigned to a dyad. The dilemma arises because one participant must make a monetary sacrifice to signal the degree of trust in the other before the other's behavioral response is known. We show that receipt of a signal of trust is associated with a higher level of peripheral oxytocin than that in subjects receiving a random monetary transfer of the same average amount. Oxytocin levels were also related to trustworthy behavior (sharing a greater proportion of the monetary gains). We conclude that oxytocin may be part of the human physiology that motivates cooperation.

PMID:
15677415
DOI:
10.1196/annals.1314.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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