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The Biology of Trust

In 1995, Berg and colleagues designed the “Trust Game”, an experiment to measure trust in economic decisions. Briefly, two individuals are anonymously paired and are given some quantity of money. The first individual must send some amount of his money to the second individual, and is also informed that whatever he gives will be tripled (i.e. Trust). The second individual is to make a similar choice and give some amount of the now-tripled money back to the first individual (i.e. Trustworthiness). In their recent publication in PLoS One, Dr. Songfa Zhong from the National University of Singapore (Singapore) and his team hypothesized that the “love hormone”, oxytocin, could partially influence the degree of trust and trustworthiness observed in the Trust Game and could therefore also be referred to as the “trust hormone”. In line with previous studies, the team confirmed that the first individual sends about 50% of his/her endowment and that the second individual sends back about 95% of what was originally sent. Baseline oxytocin levels in the plasma of the 1,158 participants were determined using Enzo’s Oxytocin ELISA kit and demonstrated a significant non-linear U-shaped correlation with trust and trustworthiness, regardless of age and gender. This study highlighted oxytocin as a potential biomarker for trust and emphasized the need to investigate into other hormones for a better appreciation and understanding of human social behavior.

Enzo Life Sciences offers endocrinologists and behavior specialists an extensive selection of steroid and hormone ELISA kits (see table below), including the market’s most sensitive Oxytocin ELISA kit.

 

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