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June 02, 2005

How To Drug Friends & Influence People

Oxytocin -- not Oxycontin, the painkiller known as "Hillbilly Heroin" -- makes rufies look like Diet Shasta:

University students who inhaled the [oxytocin] hormone in a nasal spray were discovered to be far more trusting of one another -- eager, in fact, to hand over money to strangers in investment deals.

Somehow I can use this information in my quest for crazy-blog money.

Anyone interested in purchasing Ace of Spades HQ potpourri?

The results suggest trust can be bottled and used to forge commercial relationships. Oxytocin levels have long been known to spike with sexual climax or influence the production of mothers' milk, but the new study suggests they are also "the biological basis of trust among humans."

You had me at "sexual climax." The rest of it was just frosting on the cake.


"Of course, this finding could be misused to induce trusting behaviours that selfish actors subsequently exploit," the team wrote.

Shut up, really?

"However our findings may have positive clinical implications for patients with mental disorders."

Indeed. Patient with mental disorder + oxytocin = Ace stealing blind from lunatics and retiring to St. Kitts.

The study already has some cynical scientists musing about whether political operatives will try to crop-dust crowds with oxytocin at rallies...

I wonder what sort of "political operatives" they might mean?

...whereas more hopeful researchers see the hormone as a potential boon in treating people with social phobias, or rare genetic disorders that cause children to trust everyone they meet.

Social phobias? Check. I'm on my way to the pharmacist right now.


Naturally occurring oxytocin is more fun, but has its pitfalls. In fact, some sex counsellors warn new lovers not to jump into bed with one another, as orgasms increase levels of oxytocin and can thus impair judgment about a mate's character.

Um, isn't "impaired judgment about a mate's character" the glue that holds couples together in the first place? We should be praising the Miracle Hormone Oxytocin, not slandering it.

And besides -- if you just jumped into bed with someone you just met, aren't you already exhibiting imparied judgment?

If you ever suspected that an awful lot of attraction (both sexual and platonic) was just chemically based, this would seem to be support that theory. Somewhere out there are people who can pheremonically trigger increased oxycotin levels in you, and you'll like them and trust them, for no better reason than they sweat agreeable molecules.

Thanks to LauraW.

Yes! A Military Application!: Dave offers:

Anyway, another use for the "trust hormone" that the story didn't mention, and quite relevant for today: interrogations.

I can't wait for the bleating from Amnesty International when we start spritzing Gitmo prisoners with trust spray.

Too true. A drug that sort of blisses you out (and gives you kick-ass orgasms, should you get lucky) could be used as an aid in some extremely gentle interrogations.

But the civil rights absolutists will flip out, of course.

Beth Update: Oxytocin is apparently also being used to control premature ejaculation.

The Hubris blog has a non-drug alternative.

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posted by Ace at 01:31 PM

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