From the light-hearted threats department, Mark points to an article on how to bypass trusting defences.
A REVOLUTIONARY nasal spray could have the power to make a person more trusting, scientists have found.
Experiments show that after a few squirts of a spray containing the hormone oxytocin, humans were significantly more trusting. It has even been suggested that the spray could be used as a therapy for trust-diminishing conditions, such as autism or some social phobias.
The research, carried out by a team of American and Swiss scientists and published in today’s issue of Nature, showed that after using the spray, volunteers became more willing to risk losing money to a stranger.
One of the scientists who worked on the project, Dr Michael Kosfeld, of the University of Zurich, said those who had sniffed oxytocin gave away their money much more easily. He also said animal studies had proved that oxytocin takes away the unwillingness to approach strangers. "It helps animals approach one another - which is a parallel with trust in our game," he said. "In companion with psychotherapy it could have a positive effect."
Oxytocin has traditionally been seen as a "love hormone", and is released during orgasm. It has also been proved to be released when cuddling or touching takes place, and women release it when in labour and during breastfeeding.
The idea that it could be released when people express feelings of trust was first raised in 2003, but this research is the first attempt to show that increasing the amount of the hormone present in the body could directly influence the extent that one person trusts another.
Antonio Damasio, a neurologist at the University of Iowa, who reviewed the experiments for Nature, believes the findings could be significant scientifically. He said:
"Some may worry about the prospect that political operators will generously spray the crowd with oxytocin at rallies of their candidates.
"The scenario may be rather too close to reality for comfort, but those with such fears should note that current marketing techniques - for political and other products - may well exert their effects through the natural release of molecules such as oxytocin in response to well-crafted stimuli."
However, the idea that it could be used to help autism was met with scepticism by the National Autistic Society. A spokeswoman said: "The outcome of any approach will depend on the needs of the individual, which vary greatly, and the appropriate application of the intervention."
Addendum Zooko recommends Neuromarketing: Peeking Inside the Black BoxPosted by iang at June 2, 2005 09:09 AM | TrackBack