November 4th, 2014
06:03 PM ET

What happened to trust?

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Paul Zak, a professor at Claremont Graduate University and the author of The Moral Molecule about why trust and confidence are at such a low. Watch the video for the full interview.

OK, explain what you mean by that.

So human beings have this unique ability among all animals to actually rapidly form relationships with strangers. So the only way you can do that is to have something in our heads that says Fareed is safe and Bob, next to you, is not safe. So this molecule we found is produced when you observe or are the recipient of a positive social interaction.

So we began examining trust first, but more generally, these positive social behaviors we call moral behaviors.

How do you do the test? How do you figure that out?

So this is an ancient chemical the brain makes. And we actually can see the reflection of what's in the brain by measuring blood. So we take blood before and after. People do tests in the laboratory and in the field. So our trust tasks, we tempt people with virtue and vice by putting money on the table.

So you have money, you can give it to a stranger, it will grow in size. But now that stranger controls it. The question is, if that stranger is someone you can't talk to, can't see, you're doing this by computer, why would you ever send him or her money?

It turns out that the more money you send that person, the more the brain produces oxytocin, and the more oxytocin on board, the more they reciprocate to you from this larger pie, even though they don't have to.

And oxytocin is what? This is the key, right?

So it's a chemical that your brain makes that, before we started running these experiments about a dozen years ago, was only associated with birth, breastfeeding and sex. All of those are much too messy to run in my lab, so I began investigating whether there were other social interactions, as we've seen in animals, which actually produce this brain chemical.

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Topics: GPS Show

soundoff (311 Responses)
  1. rupert

    Jeff Roem does not exist
    ....Jeff Roem does not exist
    ........Jeff Roem does not exist

    November 6, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Reply
  2. chri§§y

    Lol @ banasy, aint it though? We are in for an ugly few years for certain now! But hey the special interest groups should be as happy as pigs in mud!

    November 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  3. chri§§y

    So you keep saying @ rupert. Funny though cuz he keeps posting.

    November 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  4. Hannah

    "Trust" is appropriate for this writeup. Fareed is untrustworthy. Oxytocin low level.

    November 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  5. Hannah

    @Chappel this Philip person keeps hounding you. Set him loose in a bayou. LOL

    November 6, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Reply
    • Cristobal

      He probably is on anxiolytics.

      November 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  6. Cherry Pie

    @Hannah: @Blue Saffron was right on the money re: dopamine. Lots of that on this forum. Some have it oozing out of their ears. Ha Ha Ha

    November 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  7. bobcat2u

    "What happened to trust ?" the headline asks.

    Well, my trust in this blogging site is waning. I trusted that a new article would have been here by now.

    That reminds me of a joke.

    November 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Reply
    • bobcat2u

      A burglar decided to rob the safe in a store.

      On the safe door he was very pleased to find a note reading: "Please don't use dynamite. The safe is not locked. Just turn the knob."

      He did so. Instantly a heavy sandbag fell on him, the entire premises were floodlighted, and alarms started clanging.

      As the police carried him out on a stretcher, he was heard moaning: "My confidence in human nature has been rudely shaken."

      November 6, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Reply
      • bobcat2u

        There once was a religious young woman who went to Confession.

        Upon entering the confessional, she said, "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned."

        The priest said, "Confess your sins and be forgiven."

        The young woman said, "Last night my boyfriend made mad passionate love to me seven times."

        The priest thought long and then said, "Squeeze seven lemons into a glass and drink the juice."

        The young woman asked, "Will this cleanse me of my sins?"

        The priest said, "No, but it will wipe that smile off of your face."

        November 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • banasy©

      But what are your feelings about Modi and India, Rawr?

      November 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Reply
      • bobcat2u

        @ banasy
        I'm just back on here after a self imposed hiatus and see the subject went from trust to the usual conversation of raype. I as sume this came through the normal channels !?

        And as far as Modi and India, I feel if they would return the tech assistance phone jobs to this country, they would be doing a great double edged service. Not only would it open up some jobs in this country, we would also be able to understand what is being said. And please keep your Bollywood productions over there.

        Now with that being said :

        Farmer Brown decided his injuries from the accident were serious enough to take the trucking company (responsible for the accident) to court. In court, the trucking company's fancy lawyer was questioning Farmer Brown. "Didn't you say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine'?" asked the lawyer.

        Farmer Brown responded, "Well I'll tell you what happened. I had just loaded my favorite mule Bessie into the..."

        "I didn't ask for any details," the lawyer interrupted, "just answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine'!"

        Farmer Brown said, "Well I had just gotten Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road..."

        The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question."

        By this time the Judge was fairly interested in Farmer Brown's answer and said to the lawyer, "I'd like to hear what he has to say about his favorite mule Bessie."

        Brown thanked the Judge and proceeded, "Well as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my truck right in the side."

        He continued, "I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other. I was hurting real bad and didn't want to move. However, I could hear ole Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible shape just by her groans."

        "Shortly after the accident a highway patrolman came on the scene. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over to her. After he looked at her, he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes. Then the patrolman came across the road with his gun in his hand and looked at me."

        Finally, farmer Brown came to the end of the story. "The patrolman looked at me and said, 'Your mule was in such bad shape I had to shoot her. How are YOU feeling'?"

        November 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
      • banasy©

        Thank you for your thoughts about India. It had been nearly 8 minutes since it was last referenced.

        Thank you for that; and oh-I'm fine, too. Lol

        November 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
  8. chri§§y

    Lol @ bobcat...nicely done!

    November 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  9. bobcat2u

    Jeb and Jethro live in the hills, about 5 miles outside of town. Jeb asks Jethro to go in to town to pick up some lumber. Jethro walks the 5 miles to town to the local lumberyard.

    "Jeb says we're gonna need some 4 x 2's" Jethro tells the yardman.

    "Do you mean 2 x 4's?" asks the yardman.

    "Well, I don't rightly know, I better go ask Jeb" says Jethro and walks the 10 miles to the hills and back to town.

    "Jeb says we're gonna need 2 x 4's" Jethro tells the yardman.

    "Now, how many 2 x 4's will you need?" asks the yardman.

    "Well, I don't rightly know, I better go ask Jeb." says Jethro, and again walks the 10 miles to the hills and back to town.

    "Jeb says were gonna need about 40 of 'em" Jethro tells the yardman.

    "Now, how long will you need them?" asks the yardman.

    "Well, I don't rightly know, I better go ask Jeb" says Jethro and yet again walks the 10 miles to the hills and back to town.

    Upon returning Jethro says to the yardman, "Jeb says you better give 'em to us for a while . . . we're gonna build a barn."

    November 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  10. chri§§y

    Ask and yee shall recieve @ bobcat lol. There is now a new thread...and no it has nothing to do with India, Modi or raypes lmao!

    November 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      Give it a few minutes, Chrissy. It'll happen.

      November 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Reply
      • bobcat2u

        Maybe we can also have a revival of the Bayer "pharmaceutical" empire, as well as some updates on the "ufos". Oops, I meant "IFOs".

        November 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
      • banasy©

        Read the whole blog, darlin'. I'm sure you'll find it.
        Btw, did you know I'm a Nazi? Even though He Who Shall Remain Nameless knows I had family who perished in the Holocaust.
        I am a Nazi because I encouraged people to vote.
        Yes. I'm serious. Aren't i awful?

        November 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
      • bobcat2u

        Well banasy, I must say that I am totally shocked. All this time I thought of you as a deeply caring person. Too find this out has really diminished my "trust" (notice how I swung that back to the original issue ?) in humankind.

        November 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
      • banasy©

        No worries, bobcat. I got rid of my jackboots years ago when He Who Shall Remain Nameless found out my little secret. That he totally made up.

        November 6, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • Philip

        30 million families lost sons and daughters to NAZI war criminals thanks to stupid people being allowed to vote for Hitler. Had only Germany's brightest minds been allowed to vote, no way in heck Hitler would have been elected.
        Stop acting as if your loss outweighs 30 million casualties.

        November 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
      • banasy©

        I am not doing that at all.

        I am merely pointing out that you calling me a Nazi when you know full well that members of my family died at the hands of the Nazis shows a lack of self-awareness that is astounding; and all because I advocate voting.

        It also illustrates that you lack reading comprehension, and do not retain the written word unless it aligns precisely with whatever windmill you're tilting on any given day.

        November 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
  11. chri§§y

    Lol yea i know @ banasy! And too late for most of that @ bobcat because it was discussed to death already by he who will remain nameless.

    November 6, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  12. Blue Diamond

    @Gustav ya think Obama will finish his term? Boehner is on his tail. Maybe Oxytocin will help.

    November 6, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Reply
    • Gustav

      Hiya BD. The only thing that can save the man is a cuban cigar in the oval with Beyonce. Other than that he is toast.

      November 6, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • rupert

      Be quiet u hindu raypist from India

      November 6, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  13. Blue Diamond

    Balsamic vinegar, believe you me, contains tons of oxytocin. Which is a good thing. It is a trust serum.

    November 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Reply
    • Igor

      I reckon the white one. Love it on my bbqed meat(s).

      November 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  14. ShiningStar

    Hey Gustav I could use one of them Habanas. Any idea where I can get them in northwest?

    November 6, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  15. Igor

    Just got a case of Mondavi Reserve '84 @SStar and with a box of cubans. My buddy at the liquor store got it for me. Cost me tons though. But love it. With some Tbone.

    November 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  16. Black Maa

    Hoots to Oxytocin.

    The statistics are”astounding’ and far worse than I thought previously. Per CNN, 20% of women in India (140 million !!!!) have either been rayped. This is about half the population of USA !!! UNBELIEVABLE !!!! Where has the world been? Why have all the news agencies been ducking this issue? What gives?

    This is indicative of a society that has broken down over the centuries and probably is not curable anymore. India now needs to be imploded and from it independent nations need to emerge that are more manageable with a culture that is more gentle.

    November 6, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  17. rupert

    @black maa. U hindu raypist. Get your tiffin box and go to India.

    November 6, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Reply
  18. Philip

    sheesh. TEST

    November 6, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  19. Philip

    Dang it Joey. They spotted me. My deep and insightful comments are no longer posting. I got like 3 days before I'm banished. And I was just starting to get along with Chrissy again. Dang it.

    November 6, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  20. ℜazzmatazz

    What is hindu? Virus?
    Perhaps you wanna go with him as coolie. Eh, chap.

    November 6, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      Is a coolie a limey?

      November 6, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Reply
      • Philip

        Eh, Chippering? (From "Good By Mr. Chips" book/movie

        November 6, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
  21. Philip @bobcatx2

    Crudcakes. I can't get anything worthwhile to post. Only Garbage.

    November 6, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Reply
  22. Philip @bobcatx2

    Lol. I keep getting these messages that say A secure connection was not available. Just like when CNN banished me a year or two ago.

    November 6, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Reply
  23. Philip

    And while Walter Cronkite lay shivering in the corner of that cold dark room...errr, check that. Dank. (hvng trbl posting)

    November 6, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Reply
  24. rupert

    They sent students to Bordeaux to study grapes. The Chinese learned winemaking. The Indian hinddooze the art of raipe.

    November 7, 2014 at 4:24 am | Reply
    • Philip

      And MS-13 and the Sons of Silence gang bangers the art of extortion, drug trafficking, robbery, and of course, raype.
      Who gives a rats ass about India's troubles. We have our hands full with our own 33,000 street and biker gangs.

      November 7, 2014 at 11:28 am | Reply
  25. Philip

    Modi is a puppet. Stray dogs are not licensed to have nukes.

    November 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Reply
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