Boffins pinpoint trust hormone

Trust me, it's true

Scientists from Switzerland and the US reckon they have discovered a way of making people trust you - just give 'em a dose of hormone Oxytocin and away you go...

Oxytocin is, according to Reuters, a hormone released during sexual orgasm. It's nickname of "cuddle" hormone gives you an idea of what its effect is, viz; "We find that intranasal administration of Oxytocin causes a substantial increase in trusting behavior," as the scientists explain in Nature. Put another way: "Oxytocin specifically affects an individual's willingness to accept social risks arising through interpersonal interactions."

And apparently, test subjects "exposed to the hormone but faced with a computer did not show increased willingness to take risks". All of which translates thus: Oxytocin makes you more likely to trust someone.

Naturally, the scientists did offer a warning as to possible misuse of this touchy-feely hormone, concluding: "Of course, this finding could be misused to induce trusting behaviors that selfish actors subsequently exploit."

That's to say, you might find yourself suddenly finding Tony Blair and George Bush strangely plausible, without realising that your entire neighbourhood has been dosed with Oxytocin deployed via aerosol from stealth black helicopters. You have been warned. ®

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