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. Philip

    What happened to trust? The same thing that happened to In God We Trust. People like @banasy dismissed it as trivial and of no major concern. Surely, nothing to vote on.
    And oxycontin is synthetic heroin derived from crude oil. Not that this is the chemical referred to in this article. Just saying.

    November 4, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      Please post where I have ever stated that. You cannot. You are a known liar.

      Grow up.

      November 4, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  2. Ferhat Balkan

    So my oxytocin level drops whenever I think of a politician or a troll. Got it.

    November 4, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      Let us know your levels when you think about Hillary naked.

      November 4, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Reply
  3. Blue Saffron

    Here is my take. Fareed and his countrymen in India produce elevated levels of dopamine resulting in raipe epidemic over there. Oxytocin is wrong parameter to hone in on.

    November 4, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  4. Blue Saffron

    The turmeric in Chicken Tikka Masala contains a high level of dopamine that has resulted in Modi going berserk and engaging in acts of women trashing and stalking and genocides. He requires detox in a mosque in Syria in ISIS controlled village. The code bane of this procedure shall be NamaStay.

    November 4, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      Name not bane. I stand corrected. I will have my oxytocin levels checked. Lol.

      November 4, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Reply
    • Toxic Tim

      LMFAO. That dude Modi is on anxiolytics, I betcha, causing bevavioral absurdity. The whole frikkin India needs a detox. Social outcasts.

      November 4, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Reply
      • rupert

        Here we go. Modi again. We don't care about Modi u stu pid!
        We care about chicken wings, beer, the super bowl and world series.
        Tell your modi sh!t to somebody who gives a cr@p.
        NOBODY HERE CARES!!!!!!!

        November 4, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
      • Blue Saffron

        We care. Modi is an insult to democracy.

        November 4, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
  5. Blue Saffron

    I finally figured out why most comments are so spaced out on these forums. Excessive use of opioids and oxycontins. @banasy needs internment along several others namely, chrissy, joey, J von, philips, zhang et al.

    November 4, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      No, I do not, but thank you for your insincere concern.

      You are aware that OxyContin is an opioid? Wouldn't want you to be redundant whilst trying to drive the conversation.

      November 4, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Reply
      • Toxic Tim

        What is your point? You definitely need rehab. You can't think straight plus your pharmacology is dated .

        November 4, 2014 at 7:57 pm |
      • banasy©

        No, I do not; I take no opioids.
        My point is that you, and Blue Saffron, are wrong.
        Are you trying to posit that OxyContin is not an opioid?

        November 4, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
  6. Philip

    Why do Americans even bother paying for having "In God We Trust" printed on their money? They don't trust in God. They trust in military might and in the savvy of the average Joe Schmoe voter.

    November 4, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      Why do you think so? Trinity is very important to Americans.

      November 4, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Reply
      • Philip

        I didn't say anything about the trinity doctrine. I said "In God We Trust". Not in trinity.

        November 4, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
      • Blue Saffron

        Trinity includes God. The point being In God We Trust is the underpinning of american society.

        November 4, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
      • Philip

        I believe in words found in the bible. The word Trinity is not there. And we do not pay to have "In Trinity We Trust" on our dollars.

        November 4, 2014 at 8:40 pm |
      • Blue Saffron

        You have been reading Gita Bhagavad.

        November 4, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
      • Philip

        Bottom line: there are those that trust In the Bill Clinton's of the World of ungodly mankind. And keep voting for them year after year. And then there are those trusting in God himself who does not approve of adultery. Get it?

        November 4, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
  7. Blue Saffron

    Fareed needs a heavy dose of Ambien. Then put him on a skiff to Calcutta with some ssmosas.

    November 4, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  8. Philip

    Opoid laced with addictive petrochemicals, you maroon. But, yeah. Derived from the poppy. The same poppy that Afghanistan's government outlawed, and who were then ousted by invading Christian armies. After a US citizen puppet was installed as president, poppy production increased 800% according to UN reports. Guess what peoples are the largest consumers of heroin on earth, per capita. Yup. You got it. U.S. The most drug crazed society in the history of man.

    November 4, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  9. rupert

    Ok. So let's see if I understand this correctly. Blue Saffron's brain is unique in that it is unable to produce these oxitocin chemicals. So it is safe to take the hypothesis that Blue Saffron is a wortless, Islamist, rotten, dirty, stinking, boring, POS, fink that was born in the back seat of a Chevy by accident.
    Ok. I get it. Good article.

    November 4, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      You know I am a very in your face type of a person. But You know what I won't even dignify your comment with a response. Suffice to say I love you too.

      November 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  10. rupert


    November 4, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  11. Blue Saffron

    Give that p unk Modi some vicodin and drag his a zz to The Hague for murder trial.

    November 4, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  12. rupert

    Kill modi!!! Hang modi. Skip the trial. GUILTY!!!
    Just so Blue Saffron will STFU already.

    November 4, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      Why are you picking on me for standing on principles? Until the accused Modi is tried in The Hague I will never STFU. They can shut the forum down or take me to the SCROTUS.

      November 4, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  13. chri§§y

    @ Blue Saffron who is really BS, and loads of it, how about you post on something that you know! I realise the list is short but stick to it anyway ok! Because you do NOT know banasy, joey, philip, j von, vhang or myself so stop acting as though you do! As for posts being all over the damn place, that would be yours!

    November 4, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      I challenge you to a debate on any topic. ANY TOPIC. Of your choice. We will see who is full of what.

      November 4, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Reply
      • rupert

        Blue Saffron. Your days are numbered. You are a turkey and thanksgiving is around the corner.

        November 4, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
      • Rupert

        Gobble gobble gobble Blue Saffron. I love the corn bread.

        November 4, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
      • Bobby

        The trolls seem scared to take you on. I accept your challenge. Let the debate begin.

        November 5, 2014 at 3:11 am |
    • Hannah

      Chrissy, your silence is deafening.

      November 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  14. dazzle

    @blue saffron, please stay on topic. I am sick of seeing Modi this and India that. Thank you.

    November 4, 2014 at 9:47 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      I am on topic. Modi and India are this and that and all of the other bad stuff. So buck up and get your onion rings and ketchup ready.

      November 4, 2014 at 9:57 pm | Reply
      • Hannah

        Lol. Onion rings, eh?

        November 4, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
  15. chri§§y

    Lmao @ rupert. I doubt that will shut him up either.

    November 4, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      Shut me up? Who the f ukk you think you are? Do you know who I am? I am your worst nightmare. Giddy up.

      November 4, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Reply
  16. chri§§y

    You are NOT on topic on your post where you slandered myself, banasy, joey, philip and j von!!!

    November 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  17. rupert

    @chrissy. I think BS needs a two hour session with dazzle.
    GN ladies.
    GN BS, u weirdo.

    November 4, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Reply
    • dazzle

      Thanks a lot Rupert. I will pass. Good night.

      November 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Reply
      • Rupert

        Muahhhhh dazzle. Miss u much. Luv ya

        November 4, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
  18. chri§§y

    Lol @ rupert...thanksgiving dinner is supposed to taste GOOD lmao!

    November 4, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Reply
    • Rupert

      Will you be the stuffing in my turkey, chrissy? Love you bunch. Tickle my c lit.

      November 4, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  19. chri§§y

    Gnite rupert. And me too, im already having regrets logging on here tonite.

    November 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Reply
    • Rupert

      Gud nite chrissy. Luv u 2 sweetie. My Benaresi b imbo. Muahhhh

      November 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Reply
  20. rupert

    Lights out. Everybody go to sleep

    November 4, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  21. chri§§y

    Lol @ dazzle i figured you wouldnt like that idea much.

    November 4, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Reply
  22. rupert

    New years resolution. Won't let BS get on my nerve.
    Let's try that, nice ladies.

    November 4, 2014 at 10:08 pm | Reply
  23. chri§§y

    You aint the boss of me rupert lol. In fact i could be YOUR mother!

    November 4, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Reply
    • Rupert

      Tickle tickle . Your rupee will s ukk your n ipple.

      November 4, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  24. Blue Saffron

    Folks, as and aside I am getting a farm fresh organic 20 pounder and will be brining it.
    The bottom line is that Like Modi these turkeys are yella bellies and have tons of dopamine oozing from their pea brains. Perhaps we should consider treating Modi like a turkey neck n all.

    November 4, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Reply
  25. Philip

    Omg. Ya'll are ignorant at last.

    November 4, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Reply
    • Northstar Melody

      You write the sentence "Ya’ll are ignorant at last." and think others are ignorant?!?

      November 4, 2014 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  26. Blue Saffron

    Americans use stuffing in Turkeys during Thanksgiving. In India candles are stuffed in v agina of girls during rayping. Two rituals two cultures two celebrations.

    November 4, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  27. chri§§y

    Alrighty then. @ Blue Saffron my apology. You just may be correct about philip but if you are, they need to increase his dose.

    November 4, 2014 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  28. Chappel H

    Well said @Blue Saffron. Love the dark meat on turkey. For me lots of gravy. Keep your insights coming.

    November 4, 2014 at 10:34 pm | Reply
  29. Hannah

    Hey Chappel, save the corn bread and stuffing for me. Love the cranberry sauce. How about some spinach pakoras from the Indian take out. Would go perfectly with pork belly.

    November 4, 2014 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  30. Blue Saffron

    All, load up on dopamine for thanksgiving.
    Fareed, you can have the leftover dahl roti.

    November 4, 2014 at 10:46 pm | Reply
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