EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

The Neuroeconomics of Trust

Paul J. Zak
Additional contact information
Paul J. Zak: Claremont Graduate University

Experimental from EconWPA

Abstract: The traditional view in economics is that individuals respond to incentives, but absent strong incentives to the contrary selfishness prevails. Moreover, this “greed is good” approach is deemed “rational” behavior. Nevertheless, in daily interactions and in numerous laboratory studies, a high degree of cooperative behavior prevails—even among strangers. A possible explanation for the substantial amount of “irrational” behavior observed in markets (and elsewhere) is that humans are a highly social species and to an extent value what other humans think of them. This behavior can be termed trustworthiness—cooperating when someone places trust in us. I also analyze the cross-country evidence for environments that produce high or low trust. A number of recent experiments from my lab have demonstrated that the neuroactive hormone oxytocin facilitates trust between strangers, and appears to induce trustworthiness. In rodents, oxytocin has been associated with maternal bonding, pro-social behaviors, and in some species long-term pair bonds, but prior to the work reviewed here, the behavioral effects of oxytocin in humans had not been studied. This presentation discusses the neurobiology of positive social behaviors and how these are facilitated by oxytocin. My experiments show that positive social signals cause oxytocin to be released by the brain, producing an unconscious attachment to a stranger. I also discuss recent research that manipulates oxytocin levels, and functional brain imaging research on trust.

Keywords: Oxytocin; social capital; neuroeconomics; development; experiments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C9 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo, nep-exp, nep-hpe and nep-soc
Date: 2005-07-21
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 24
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/exp/papers/0507/0507004.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: http://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0507004

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Experimental from EconWPA
Series data maintained by EconWPA ().

 
Page updated 2017-05-22
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0507004