The Moral Molecule: The New Science of What Makes Us Good or Evil
|Author:||Paul J. Zak|
|Author:||Paul J. Zak|
Human beings can be so compassionate. They can also be shockingly cruel. What if there was a master control for human behaviour? Switch it on and people are loving and generous. Switch it off and they revert to violence and greed. Pioneering neuroeconomist Paul J. Zak has discovered just such a master switch: a molecule in the human brain. Zak's colleagues call him Dr Love. They also call him the vampire economist. He and his research team have travelled from his laboratory in California to the jungles of Papua new Guinea via a summer garden in Devon, taking blood from people as they attend a wedding, make decisions with money, play football on the field, even jump from an aeroplane. Their experiments to measure a chemical in the bloodstream called oxytocin reveal the answers to those mysteries about why we make the decisions we do: why we are sometimes rational, at other times irrational; why men cheat more than women; how the moral molecule operates in the market place, and most importantly, once we understand the moral molecule, how we can consciously use it to make our lives better.
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?
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 the forthcoming An Economist Gets Lunch an engaging read BBC Focus Engaging, entertaining and profound. Kirkus Reviews 20120401
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.