Oxytocin molecule (Image: PD).
Paul J. Zak is a neuroeconomist who was the first to identify that the brain chemical oxytocin allows us to determine who to trust.
His current research has shown that oxytocin is responsible for virtuous behaviors, working as the brain's "moral molecule." This knowledge is being used to understand the basis for civilization and modern economies, improve negotiations, and treat patients with neurologic and psychiatric disorders.
Dr. Zak is the founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and Professor of Economics, Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. His book The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity was published in 2012 and was a finalist for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize.