Testosterone Makes Bosses Into Jerks, Says Paul Zak

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on January 5th, 2018
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By Zinta Lundborg - 2012-06-14T04:01:00Z

In their models, economists often invoke the idea of rational self-interest.

After years of experiments, neuroeconomist Paul Zak says that concept is bupkes when it comes to real people.

In the lab, Zak has participants play a game in which the only way to make money is to give some of what you have to a stranger. He found consistently high levels of trust and trustworthiness.

Whats at the root of this virtuous circle? Oxytocin.

Zaks experiments show that the influence in the bloodstream of oxytocin, long known for its role in sexual reproduction, especially childbirth and breastfeeding, goes much further.

In The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity, Zak explores oxytocins larger role in all kinds of human endeavors.

We spoke at Bloomberg world headquarters in New York.

Lundborg: How does oxytocin work?

Zak: Its a very short-acting brain chemical that is released, we found, for a variety of stimuli. We discovered when someone trusts you, your brain releases oxytocin and motivates you to reciprocate.

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Testosterone Makes Bosses Into Jerks, Says Paul Zak

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