The Moral Molecule takes an entirely fresh scientific look at one of the biggest questions in life: are we born good or evil and exactly what drives the way we behave.
Why are men less faithful than women? Why are some people altruists and others cold-hearted bastards? Why do some businesses succeed while others collapse? In his entertaining and groundbreaking book, Paul Zak uses neuroscience and the fundamentals of economics to answer essential questions about human nature and explore exactly what 'goodness' is. Oxytocin, a hormone generally associated with childbirth, is present in all of us: this is the moral molecule that makes us empathetic, and is therefore the fundamental control mechanism that orchestrates morality. From his unusual 'vampire studies', which involve taking blood from wedding guests to see if the romantic ritual increases oxytocin (it does), to working with US Military troops to balance oxytocin with testosterone, this study takes us from corporate offices to Buddhist monasteries. In doing so Zak demonstrates how businesses and whole economies are affected by oxytocin, and his studies into an oxytocin based drug that could treat autism, anxiety and post-traumatic-stress disorder, show us its potential influence on society as a whole. Fascinating and full of great stories, The Moral Molecule makes for compelling reading and will leave you with new knowledge of human nature, why we do what we do, and how we connect to each other.
About the Author
Paul Zak is the founding Director of the Centre for Neuroeconomics Studies and Professor of Economics at Claremont Graduate University. He has degrees in mathematics and economics from San Diego State University, a Ph.D. in economics from University of Pennsylvania, and post-doctoral training in neuroimaging from Harvard. Professor Zak is an expert in neuroeconomics, a field he helped create, and is a recognised expert in oxytocin.
"Paul Zak tells the remarkable story of how he discovered and explored the biochemistry of sympathy, love and trust with the narrative skill of a novelist. Philosophy, economics and biology have rarely been so entertaining" -- Matt Ridley, Author Of "Genome" "An ancient mammalian molecule prods us to bond with others. Paul Zak offers a most engaging account of this important discovery, bound to overthrow traditional thinking about human behavior, including economics and morality" -- Frans De Waal, Author Of "The Age Of Empathy" "Paul Zak's investigations into the best things in life are inspired, rigorous, and tremendous fun. We need more daring economists like him" -- Tyler Cowen, Author Of "The Great Stagnation" And "An Economist Gets Lunch" "An engaging read" BBC Focus
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 24th May 2012
Dimensions (cm): 24.0 x 16.1 x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.464