Research

Biology, Trust and Skepticism

Both trust and distrust, it now seems, are influenced by hormones that can induce people to ratchet their feeling of trust up or down.
The trust side of the equation is mediated by a brain hormone known as oxytocin. A soft touch or caress will send a pulse of oxytocin into a person’s bloodstream….
There needs to be an antidote to oxytocin that makes a person keep those warm, fuzzy feelings suppressed in the appropriate circumstances….
Researchers at Utrecht University in Holland now report that they have identified this antidote: it is testosterone….
“Testosterone decreases interpersonal trust and in an apparently adaptive manner,” the researchers conclude. (Nicolas Wade, “She Doesn’t Trust You? Blame the Testosterone,” NYTimes.com, June 7, 2010)

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