The Car Salesman’s New Best Friend


This story has some scary implications:

Swiss scientists have realised the snake oil salesman’s dream: a potion that increases trust. One whiff of a brain-penetrating hormone called oxytocin, and you would trust him with your wallet, if not your life.

Oxytocin plays a role in the bonding between mother and suckling infant; it helps you feel that you “know” someone you have met before, and it plays a powerful role in romantic love and desire.

Ernst Fehr of the University of Zurich and colleagues tested 194 healthy male students in a series of sophisticated games of risk and trust: the players were given notional currency and could choose to place all of it, some of it or nothing in the hands of trustees who would then decide how much to hand back after the stake had been tripled.

Some players were given a whiff of oxytocin, some inhaled a vial of air. None of the players knew what they were sniffing and none knew whether the trustees were trustworthy or not: they had to make a decision. Those who sniffed oxytocin showed a greater propensity to trust someone than those who simply inhaled air.

Posted June 1, 2005 by
General | 4 comments

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  • Comments

    4 Responses to “The Car Salesman’s New Best Friend”

    1. NOTR on June 1st, 2005 11:06 pm

      Ah Oxytocin! The Soma of Brave New World enters our century. How long before we see it in perfume, oils, drugs and other applications? It is a classic case of not “if”, but when.

    2. Scared Monkeys » Blog Archive » That Explains It All on June 2nd, 2005 8:33 am


      That Explains It All

      First we have a new way to get people to trust you, maybe even fall in love with you. Then when they fall in love with you, there brain show [...]

    3. Jim Hoft on June 2nd, 2005 8:39 am

      Maybe, Kim Jong Il will be the spokesman for this… It certainly will become the drug of choice for dictators.

      Do you suppose Putin slipped some to Bush when he said… “I looked into his eyes and I saw into his soul…”?

    4. diet effective pill safe on August 4th, 2005 3:01 am

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      Take your time to take a look at some helpful info about grapefruit diet pill

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