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. chri§§y

    Lol @ Northstar Melody...now THAT was funny lol ty! And @ Hannah...make you happy does it?

    November 5, 2014 at 12:06 am | Reply
  2. chri§§y

    Ok now that ive had a good laugh its time for me to retire. Have a good night all of you.

    November 5, 2014 at 12:11 am | Reply
  3. Bobby

    I think Fareed is losing it. Let us send him back to India to get some ideas for stories.

    November 5, 2014 at 2:57 am | Reply
  4. Hennessy

    Trust molecule? Stupid journalism invites childish comments with few exceptions.

    November 5, 2014 at 3:18 am | Reply
  5. Blue Sapphire

    @Hennessy agreed that GPS has become the laughing stock. I mean @ Blue Saffron does a better job in his postings than Fareed does and has a better brand !!!

    November 5, 2014 at 3:35 am | Reply
    • Bobby

      With the legalization of marijuana in some states, a discussion on dopamine is very timely. I applaud Blue Saffron for his brilliance, once again.

      November 5, 2014 at 3:44 am | Reply
      • Better Tomorrow

        Oregon and D.C.have also legalized marijuana. What a mistake! However, I support decriminalization.

        November 5, 2014 at 3:57 am |
      • Philip

        h the legalization of killing unborn prospective Americans...

        November 5, 2014 at 8:51 am |
      • Philip

        Exactly, @Mr. Tomorrow. Marijuana should have been decriminalised. It was really stupid for states to start legalizing it. Really really dumb dumb dumb.

        November 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
  6. Blue Sapphire

    I mean "Dopamine" was a better choice to write this blog on than "Oxytocin." Seriously.

    November 5, 2014 at 3:41 am | Reply
  7. Sky High

    Is " Trust" what we should be focused on or "Addiction" in this day and age given the emphasis on mental health due substance abuse. A recent study has India's population at 45% having mental health issues. Consequently, I agree with the sages on this forum that dopamine needs to studied further as it controls the risk reward circuitry in the brain leading to addiction.

    I applaud this venture.

    November 5, 2014 at 3:52 am | Reply
  8. Better Tomorrow

    My take away is that the duscussion on this forum becomes much healthier when certain unscrupulous elements are not present. You all know who they are.

    November 5, 2014 at 3:55 am | Reply
    • Sunny Side Up

      Sure we do. One person with numerous names.
      Chrissy
      Blue Saffron
      J Von
      Joey
      Dhang
      Zhang
      Rupert
      Philip
      Dazzle
      Ferhat
      Hannah

      November 5, 2014 at 7:22 am | Reply
      • Trevor Von Ryan

        Don't think Blue Saffron fits this list. But I could be wrong.

        November 5, 2014 at 7:44 am |
  9. Adam

    Blah blah blah

    November 5, 2014 at 7:52 am | Reply
    • Over easy

      You must be related to Fareed. Same writing style.

      November 5, 2014 at 8:42 am | Reply
  10. Over easy

    Hey @Sunny Side, Republicans have an abundance of political dopamine this morning.
    It is like a funeral on CNN this morning.

    November 5, 2014 at 8:52 am | Reply
  11. Philip

    Americans simply do not trust each other anymore.

    November 5, 2014 at 8:53 am | Reply
  12. Bobby

    The Americans just had Obama for thanksgiving. Gobble Gobble.

    November 5, 2014 at 8:56 am | Reply
  13. Philip

    Millions of Americans are addicted to mind altering drugs that cause weight gain and brain damage. And they drive cars. Sceary.

    November 5, 2014 at 9:10 am | Reply
  14. palintwit

    There are those who don't have a pot to pee in. And then there are those who don't have a Palin to pee on.

    November 5, 2014 at 9:13 am | Reply
  15. Philip

    Americans lock their doors...not because we are afraid of international terrorists...but because we know who we are. Fat greedy pigs willing to steal from each other. We hardly let our children go outside and play like we used to. Why? Because of terrorists? NO! Because of Americans.

    November 5, 2014 at 9:14 am | Reply
  16. Philip

    About 100 million of US are addicted to mind altering drugs now. Drugs that cause brain damage and weight gain. Look at US. Look how fat and stupid we are now compared to before so many drugs became readily available. Go ahead! Go to the supermarket and take a good look at all the overly obese. At all the freaking stupid people. Guess what. They are ALL using pharmacy products that destroy livers, interfere with REM sleep which causes indigestion, and have reaction times resembling how fast a retarded water buffalo might react. The old "one car length for every 10 mph" rule simply does not apply to people addicted to mind altering drugs. What used to be a simple fender bender is now a 17 car pile-up with casualties, thanks to half of US driving while under the influence of "medications" that increase our reaction times. TAILGATING aka following closer than your reaction time allows...is responsible for 70% of all highway fatalities now. It didn't used to be this way in America ya know.

    November 5, 2014 at 9:24 am | Reply
    • Northstar Melody

      Tailgating isn't because of addiction, you ninny. It's because people are impatient, always in a hurry, and there are zillions more cars on the road than when you first started driving in 1959. Cause and effect? Ding ding ding? Ring a bell?

      November 5, 2014 at 11:02 am | Reply
      • Philip

        No. YOU ninny. A person under the influence of mind altering drugs simply cannot follow as closely behind the car in front of them as someone not using drugs can.
        A drug induced mind simply cannot process information as fast or as accurately as a mind not under the influence of drugs can.
        For example, when your brain says "Stop", it takes about 4/10ths of a second for that" stop signal" to travel through your nerves down to your foot to make it slam on the brakes. Under the influence of mind altering drugs like Xanax, oxycontin, prozac, seroquel, etc., it takes much longer for the signal to arrive at your foot. This is why tailgating now causes 70% of highway deaths. 1/2 of US are on drugs now. Drugs that did not become available in the USA until after WWII. Drugs that Germans had been using for many Yeats prior. Drugs that cause weight gain, brain damage, feelings of grandeur, daytime dreaming, and daytime walking nightmares such as the infamous Aurora Theater Shooter experienced. The same drugs a young man named Adolph Hitler became addicted to. His theater was all of Europe, btw. Drugs developed by I.G. Farben/Bayer AG. Notice Hitler became stupid enough to join the NAZI political party. And Germans stupid enough to vote for the most popular candidate.
        Hitler also became fat, and as so many US troops do today, committed suicide.
        Suicide is the number one killer of US troops now...for the first time in world history, suicide is the number one killer of an army. Why? Because troops suffer trauma and are prescribed drugs not FDA approved for treating trauma. The same type of drugs Hitler and most of Germany became addicted to. The same kind of drugs Robin Williams began using about one year before he killed himself. The same kinds of drugs about 1/2 of all Americans use now.
        You ninny. Try reading for a change.

        November 5, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • Northstar Melody

        Are you out of your cotton picking mind? If you're that much of a crappy driver, stay of the roads! You're a menace to decent people who obey laws! Get your druggie self to rehab, you junkie!

        November 5, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
  17. Philip

    You don't keep a close eye on your kids because of Indians.

    November 5, 2014 at 9:27 am | Reply
  18. Philip

    Do you lock your doors because of international terrorism?

    November 5, 2014 at 9:48 am | Reply
  19. Philip

    You no longer trust Americans is why you lock your doors.

    November 5, 2014 at 10:02 am | Reply
  20. Philip

    Am waiting for one of you "news" bloggers to become personally offended by my comments. And waiting to see if any of you can defend how fat and stupid Americans have become.

    November 5, 2014 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • Northstar Melody

      I don't trust mentally ill people, so I'm not going to address you!!

      November 5, 2014 at 10:35 am | Reply
      • Philip

        You suffer from contempt prior to investigation, Melody. Seriously. You don't know me at all. You judge books by their cover/reading About the author. Never reading the book itself. You are probably a tailgater too.

        November 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • Northstar Melody

        Nope nope nope. I've read your posts and you're definitely mentally ill. If I had to diagnose, it'd be BPD with narcissistic undertones coupled with paranoic tendencies!

        November 5, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
  21. palintwit

    Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
    A: To get to the other side.

    Q: Why did the tea party patriot cross the road?
    A: To boink his 14 year old cousin.

    Q: Why did Sarah Palin cross the road?
    A: To get flattened by a Peterbilt.

    November 5, 2014 at 10:16 am | Reply
    • Philip

      Why did the American become so fat and stupid.

      November 5, 2014 at 10:24 am | Reply
      • palintwit

        Only those that watch Fox News.

        November 5, 2014 at 10:48 am |
      • Philip

        No. Not just people who watch FOX news are fat and stupid. Guess again.

        November 5, 2014 at 11:33 am |
  22. Philip

    LMAO. Check out the ad below. "Qualify for disability"... Learn if you have a disability case. As if a person really isn't sure if they are disabled or not.
    Like, Hey! I just learned that I'm disabled! I don't have to work anymore! Woo hoo!

    November 5, 2014 at 10:20 am | Reply
    • Northstar Melody

      I don't. The ads must be tailored to users.

      November 5, 2014 at 10:40 am | Reply
      • Philip

        Apparently so. Seeing how many millions of people who could work but fake being "bi-polar" and so collect disability pay, free drugs, food stamps, rent discounts, etc. And rather than working, sit on their fat asses all day blogging.

        November 5, 2014 at 11:30 am |
      • Northstar Melody

        Thanks for your biography. Get a job, you bum! I'm tired of paying for your crap!

        November 5, 2014 at 11:58 am |
  23. It's just an opinion

    In the world today we see little objectivity. When it comes to nations we see little true liberty. And as we lose our freedoms the voices ring out "it's better than over there". A haunting cry in the dark. When reason finds us I wonder if anyone will see it? Trust? The questions seem far from any real world that I know.

    November 5, 2014 at 10:34 am | Reply
  24. Philip

    Why are Americans so fat and stupid nowadays?

    November 5, 2014 at 10:35 am | Reply
  25. Philip

    http://www.peopleofwalmart.com
    omg. Take a look at yourselves.

    November 5, 2014 at 10:39 am | Reply
  26. Cristobal

    Fareed, did you read @Blue Saffron's blog?
    "Dopamine and Oxytocin.
    Addiction v. Trust"

    Meanwhile:::

    Let's talk turkey, Fareed:

    :::20% of women or 140 million women have been gang rhaped in India

    :::60% of men or 420 million men in India think that gang rhaping and burning the wife alive for dowry by spraying kerosene and lighting her up is acceptable.

    :::There is a rhape every 2 seconds in India

    ::: 85% of women in India have been groped, their breasts pulled like pork and a ss fingered

    ::80% of hinddoous track to rail tracks to defecate in India.

    From toilets to rhape to your mouth, Fareed. Some issues worth your intake.

    November 5, 2014 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • Philip

      :: 100% of U.S. Catholic Archdiocese are now bankrupt. Why? From the church paying hundreds of millions of dollars to victims families of young men and boys rayped by openly gay priests.
      :: Americans raype over 246,000 men, women and children each year. Not counting raypes committed by US war criminals overseas.
      :: The vast majority of raypes are never reported to authorities. So crime stats do not accurately represent how many people get rayped by Americans each year.

      November 5, 2014 at 11:20 am | Reply
      • Northstar Melody

        Link it or lying. There's over 190 dioceses in the US.

        November 5, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
      • Philip

        Use keywords provided and link yourself. Dummy.

        November 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
  27. It's just an opinion

    We are addicted. We are addicted to some perverted vision of education. A system which rejects teaching critical thinking. We are addicted to the mind politics which puts profit ahead of balance and debt ahead of quality of life. We are addicted to borrowing money rather to living within our means and addicted to letting a future generation pay for our lack of responsibility. The politic of the present embraces the short term and blindly leads from one election to another. There is no trust as the leadership leads us toward a dark future and we are inept to find a better way.

    November 5, 2014 at 11:00 am | Reply
    • Philip

      You left out addicted to mind altering drugs that cause weight gain and brain damage. And, contrary to your thinking, future generations will not be paying off today's debts...will not be inheriting today's debts. Rather, inheriting the power and authority to throw into forced labor camps those amassing said debts, where they will slave their asses off paying their own debts off.

      November 5, 2014 at 11:25 am | Reply
      • It's just an opinion

        I see your thought is more comprehensive. Ancient human tribes used various techniques of altering their perception to achieve "new information" imparted by the "greater universe" to gain insight. They knew this much they did not know what to do. Doubt has been and in my mind will always be a better friend than the certainty we see from so many experts we live with today. We plummet in free fall all the while the politicians celebrate their political advantage yet I believe they are in great need of better insight.

        November 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  28. Rupert

    Philip is vomiting nonsense. Who could north star be. Where is BS?

    November 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      Prove it, Rupert. And anger is expressed hurt, @ Mr. opinion. And there's a big difference between "failings from a deep profound disinterest" and outright criminal behavior. Americans suffer from criminal activity, including suffering from things that used to be illegal forever but were legalized. Like abortions and oxidizing THC to kill it's medicinal value. (pot smoking) Even cheating on your wife is legal in most US states now. It used to be illegal to give a child an aspirin pill. Now doctors give 5 year old girls Prozac! No kidding.

      November 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Reply
      • It's just an opinion

        Thomas Jefferson said "for a democracy to work Americans must be educated". I think he is correct but Americans are under the illusion they are; that politics acts in their interest which they don't. And the biggest illusion individual happiness should be put aside because the needs of government out weigh their's. Governments everywhere act as though what they desire is far more important than individual happiness as do religions. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely which can be proven by reading any newspaper in any part of the world today. The system has an internal mechanism which has to do with an educated choice which neither party offers and yet here in lies the catch 22. You have to choose between two parties which have nothing to do with reason or true long term planning.

        November 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
      • Philip

        Firstly, Thomas Jeffetson fathered more creamy babies than Martin Luther King did. So consider the source. And according to the National US Adult Literacy Survey, 1/4 of US adults can no longer understand paragraphs of words without pictures next to them. Like how authors of children's books use pictures so that little minds of children can understand what the author meant.
        That survey also reveals that after graduating HS and attending an Ivy League university for 4 years, the average grad student has fallen from the 12th grade to barely above the 7th grade...no longer able to pass an 8th grade final exam. So your views on education have merit.

        November 5, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
  29. It's just an opinion

    I agree Rupert. It is easy to see those who offer thinking whether it is a beginning for them or not; rather than a person filled with their own anger pointed at a perverse agenda. Yes we suffer from our own failings from a deep profound disinterest. But anger is not a source to rely on and it adds nothing to a better construct.

    November 5, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  30. American Patriot

    ..... and just like that ISIS is no more a problem. Moslems are the best thing since sliced bread. Now it is all about Oxytocin if you ask Fareed. Dopamine if you read @Blue Saffron.

    November 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      I especially admire Muslims who obey the Koran and slay invading infidels wherever they find them invading their homelands. And how they deal harshly with fellow Muslims who side with invading infidels. Very admirable how they defend their homes and don't allow Renegade Muslims to be members. Christians would do well to follow those examples.

      November 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Reply
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