M. Kosfeld, M. Heinrichs, Zak, P.J., U. Fischbacher and E. Fehr. "Oxytocin Increases Trust In Humans." Nature 435.(2) (2005): 673-676. ( 6/2005 )
Trust pervades human societies1,2. Trust is indispensable in friendship, love, families and in organizations. In addition, it plays a key role in economic exchange and politics3. In the absence of trust among trading partners, market transactions break down. In the absence of trust in a country?s institutions and leaders, political legitimacy breaks down. Much recent evidence indicates that trust contributes to economic, political and social success4-6. Little is known, however, about the biological basis of trust among humans. Here we show that the intranasal administration of oxytocin, a neuropeptide that plays a key role in social attachment and affiliation in non-human mammals7-9, causes a substantial increase in human trust, thereby greatly increasing the social benefits from human interactions. Moreover, this increase in trust seems entirely based on the affective, and not on the calculative, components of trust because subjects who receive oxytocin do not have more optimistic expectations about the trustworthiness of their interaction partners. Interestingly, although oxytocin increases trust, it does not affect human trustworthiness. These data concur with animal research suggesting an essential role of oxytocin as a biological basis of prosocial approach behaviour.