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Amélie Gourdon

Lecturer, Kingston University London

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Oxytocin, just a positive hormone?

I found Paul Zak's talk disturbingly blindsided me when I first watched it live in July. Recent research showed that at least oxytocin bounding properties have collateral effects which are not so positive. For example, by reinforcijng bounding, it increases preference for our ingroup and prejudice towards the outgroups (De Dreu, Greer, Van Kleef, Shalvi & Handgraaf, 2011).
You can read more about that study (and others regarding oxytocin) on Ed Yong's blog:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/01/11/no-love-for-outsiders-oxytocin-boosts-favouritism-towards-our-own-ethnic-or-cultural-group/

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    Nov 2 2011: Hi Anna,

    I couldn't agree more, especially regarding the distinction you drawn between presenting NGO work, or art, and presenting scientific research. But I tend to be more annoyed by the scientist, who, as such, has a responsibility and is not fulfilling it.
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      Nov 2 2011: Absolutely. Scientists do hold the mantle of a different sort of public responsibility. I suppose anytime you see a public figure who's about to launch a book we have to be extra vigilant with the claims, the hype and the lure of the whiter than white grin. "The Moral Molecule" is coming to all good bookshops near you next year. Such fields as neuro-economics, behavioural economics and psycho-neuro-immunology are met with grand scepticism from some of the older, more established quarters of scientific research. It's a shame talks like these seem to play right into the hands of those who dismiss these exciting new realms as the spin of smooth-talking shysters.

      Dr Ben Goldacre's TED talk on evidence-based science:
      http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/ben_goldacre_battling_bad_science.html

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