Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Authors@Google - Paul Zak on "The Moral Molecule"

Paul Zak is a name that turns up quite a bit in Julian Baggini's The Ego Trick - and now he has a new book out that is getting some good attention, The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity. Zak is a proponent of the oxytocin theory of human bonding and happiness.

If you pay close attention to the shot of the book cover at the beginning of the talk, you'll notice the different subtitle for the British version, The New Science of What Makes Us Good or Evil. Interesting, that - even his website (he's a Brit) now has the revised cover shot.

Anyway, if interested, his website has a lot of additional resources to explore.

Authors@Google - Paul Zak on "The Moral Molecule"

Filmed live from Google London on Thursday 31st May, 2012.

Paul Zak is the founding Director of the Centre for Neuroeconomics Studies and Professor of Economics at Claremont Graduate University. He is the proponent of the theory that oxytocin, a hormone generally associated with childbirth and present in all of us, drives our morality and is responsible for trust, empathy and other feelings that build and help maintain stable societies.

In his new book, Zak sets out to ask 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?

Website: www.themoralmolecule.com

Zak offers some suggestions to help you raise your oxytocin levels at his website:
Oxytocin isn't just for giving birth and breastfeeding. As I discuss in The Moral Molecule, my research has discovered many activities that cause people's brains to release oxytocin--even the brains of complete strangers. But here's the key: oxytocin is the brain's love chemical and just like love, you have to give it to get it. By that I mean, you can do things that will cause someone else's brain to release oxytocin, but you can't do this selfishly. Give freely to others and when their brains release oxytocin they will want to reciprocate and give back to you.

Here are some of my favorite ways to cause oxytocin release in others. If you've found an activity you think releases oxytocin, add it to the list!
Give someone a hug
• Introduce yourself to someone new
• Make someone smile by being silly
• Share a meal
• Dance
• Make music with someone
• Join a choir
• Kiss
• Give someone a massage
• Go to the movies
• Ride a roller coaster
• Soak in a hot tub with a friend
• Surprise someone with a gift
• Pet a dog
• Use social media to connect to others
• Take a hike with a friend
• Write a note of thanks to a teacher or mentor
• Forgive someone who has wronged you
• Meditate or pray for 10 minutes focusing on compassion
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