The BBC is reporting on a new drug which sounds like it could fit into the plot of a villain in the old time Batman TV series. The drug is a nasal spray of oxytocin, which increases how much we trust strangers! The drug apparently has a true calling for those with social phobias as research has shown that these phobias are at least in part caused by a lack of oxytocin. The scary part is that if this inhalant were used in a nefarious way it could dull your money managing sense and cost you in any number of transactions.
During the testing of the drug the scientists played "trust games", during these games the control group and the test group gave an amount of money to a trustee who could either invest and return the profits or invest and keep the profits. In the study, of those who took the oxytocin and were ripped off by their trustee, the investment behavior did not change even when they were told the trustee was not honest!
I think it is great that researchers have found a way to help people get over phobias; in fact I can't wait to see my first TV ad for oxytocin on TV next year pledging to help me get out and have fun. After that, I predict it will only be a year before some obscure town reports on a small shop which aerosolizes oxytocin to boost sales of shoddy products. Once that happens I think we can safely expect to see it worked into a Law & Order plot by the end of 2010! Remember kids,don't take nasal inhalers from strangers; they might be trying to gain your trust!
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