This conversation is closed.

Since oxytocin can influence trust, is it possible to use it for manipulation? Can "the moral molecule" be used for immoral purposes?

For example, is there any way in which politicians could influence the trust of their audiences, or companies influence the trust of their clients, or religious institutions influence the trust of their followers with the help of oxytocin?
Can "the moral molecule" be used for immoral purposes?

  • thumb
    Nov 6 2011: Anything can be used for immoral purposes within an identified moral system. If morality is to exist, immorality must also exist in order to manifest a contrast which is used in defining the limitations of what a "moral" act is.
  • Nov 5 2011: It's already being used for immoral purposes. It's being sold/endorsed by the speaker himself on merchant websites. Its a product which says trust me, pay me to manipulate your trust, then you'll surely trust me and keep paying me.

    They can even give the first shipment free by that logic.

    Also I'm putting forward the notion that naturally induced Oxytocin is the primary catalyst behind reprogramming of minds by cults and cult-like organisations already - http://www.ted.com/conversations/6917/are_cults_abusing_oxytocin_is.html

    Now that people are allowed to dispense Oxytocin without prescription to the unsuspecting general public, it's not the potential to, but an escalation of the manipulation at an even larger scale.
    • Nov 9 2011: Simply selling it doesn't necessarily mean it's being used for immoral purposes, but it does open up the possibility. From my reading it seems to be used in marriage counseling to get people to talk to each other honestly (as is ecstasy). It's used to help with depression, social anxiety and impotence.

      Drugs aren't always the best cure for a person's issues - however, when you're in the shoes of the suffering and you've been working hard at it a long time, who is an outside to say it's the wrong choice?
      • Nov 10 2011: That makes sense for the prescription use of the product.

        Is the non-presription sale of the product as a "become more trusting" or "become more generous" unethical? If the person consumes it and becomes more trusting, with an impaired sense of judgment then will he be more susceptible to the sales pitch of the product saying that it is the greatest thing on earth?

        Is that not then the definition of a addictive drug? Is this not then the sale of an addictive drug?

        How about the sale of it as "get people to trust you drug" or "get people to love you drug"?

        Is not the person who buys the product for the sole purpose of manipulating the judgment of other people committing an highly unethical act?

        What if it's put in the church snacks before sermon or donation?

        Shouldn't these findings be the basis to ban the non-prescription product rather than sell it?
  • Nov 10 2011: What about frankincense, which was found out to have mood-enhancing properties when used as burnt incense? Or music that encourages theta-wave synchronization? Both are used in cults (specifically, I mean Eastern Rite Orthodox church) but all kinds of groups, like Meijer said, have techniques. What about Peyote? What about emotional abuse? They really don't need oxytocin to reel you in. This kind of manipulation isn't such a bad thing, either. You don't have to give in if you don't want to, and a lot of people like the structure that groups provide, and they like how group rules grease the skids of society. Like the guy said here: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html
    • Nov 11 2011: You have to be joking. The structure that group provides without clandestinely programming their minds is called a support group. That is the perfectly acceptable way to boost Oxytocin levels.

      These techniques you mention that cults use, including Oxytocin induced Alpha states of existence, "Love bombing" induced Oxytocin, group ritual imitation ( mirror neuron ) induced Oxytocin induced "viral memes" are turning people into malleable entities being used to further the agendas of the psychopath leaders. They end up ruining their lives in this slavery.

      The fact that other mechanisms exist to drag people's brains to the Alpha or Theta suggestible state of mind does not justify an iota this other yet unknown, but obviously being unknowingly abused for hundreds of years chemical, now with people willingly ingesting it to becoming more loving human beings.

      It is the worst kind of crime you can commit on a human.

      You're not taking his permission to program him into someone he is not. It's like spiking someone's drink every day for the rest of their lives.

      And now they want to bring it into the mainstream!! Can you imagine how the propaganda machines and the Church are salivating over this? If this is allowed an uptake the levels of anti-depressants in the US, then you have an entire people with their judgments messed with open to all sorts of fanatic suggestions. This talk is the beginning of the slow release of the idea into the minds of the society.

      A theta subliminal programming stunt is easier to detect and ban than this. This is pure evil.
  • Comment deleted

    • Comment deleted

  • Nov 9 2011: Ever meet someone with a highly manipulative romantic partner? You can see them using affection to alter their decisions and gain trust when it isn't warranted.

    Anything in the hands of an immoral person can be abused.
  • thumb
    Nov 6 2011: Coincidentally, I just posted a comment on the Paul Zak talk earlier today with this same basic question... or rather more of a tongue in cheek recognition that if it can be done, it probably will be.

    Like some others have said already, the stimulation of our natural oxytocin seems to be par for the course in sales, grifting, advertising and graft.

    I am curious as to how much more effective externally administered oxytocin would be in comparison to a warm hug, a smile, or a solid handshake. A cute baby obviously stimulates this. Probably also a cute dog. Women seem to naturally trust the sketchiest of guys in a park if they are walking a cute dog...
    • Nov 9 2011: That's a pretty broad stroke assumption. I never met a woman who would trust a creepy guy because his dog was cute. Maybe it's a function of big city living, but sketchy is sketchy to everyone I know!
      • thumb
        Nov 10 2011: I said seem to... and sketchy is in the eyes of the beholder I suppose.

        Rephrase that last bit to: women seem to talk to guys they would otherwise ignore if the guy has a cute dog or child with him. It seems to reduce the sketch factor by a large degree... Paul Zak indicated that seeing a cute baby or animal stimulates the production of Oxytocin.

        I suppose the idea is that people don't find you as sketchy if you can get their empathy hormones working.
  • thumb
    Nov 5 2011: He talked about the classic con in which the thieves use oxytocin to scam the store clerk. Morality is simply the way in which we guide our actions; different morals can produce a situation in which one person does something morally right for them, but morally wrong for another. Don't assume the world must operate according to your beliefs.
  • Nov 5 2011: If you've ever had someone you don't agree with insist on shaking your hand, that is exactly what happened. Personal contact triggers production of oxytocin, which contributes to feelings of personal investment. Some people who viciously hate someone walk away from a first meeting shocked at how they feel after-the-fact. The oxytocin plays a role in that.