Spray Me, Pay Me

trust.jpgMost of us laughed pretty damn hard when we learned that the Air Force was thinking about spritzing enemies of freedom with aphrodisiacs, to temporarily turn them gay. But, apparently, some researchers at the University of Zurich found the idea downright inspirational.The brains haven't found the so-called "gay sex bomb," yet. But they have come up with a hormone spray that makes folks almost comically naive, according to the Washington Post.

Researchers had some volunteers inhale oxytocin [also known as the "hormone of love" or "cuddle chemical" -- ed.] and then examined how they and those who inhaled a placebo invested money in a mock transaction.The transaction involved taking a risk: handing over money to a "banker" who had the option of returning the investment with a profit or withholding principal and profit, leaving the investor with nothing. The experiment was a measure of the trust that the investors had in the bankers.Volunteers who inhaled oxytocin were more likely to trust the banker with money and risk larger sums, the researchers said in an article published yesterday in the journal Nature.The scientists said they made sure the chemical was not merely enhancing risk-taking behavior by substituting bankers with computers. Without the interaction with a human, the hormone had no effect.
Antonio Damasio, a University of Iowa neurologist, tells Nature that the spray might be a bit superfluous. "Modern advertising already uses tricks to get us to trust a brand that probably make us boost our own oxytocin levels. 'It lures you in with images of wonderful landscapes or sex, and it probably works in exactly the same way,'" he says. (big ups: Ed)
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