A revolution in the scientific study of good and evil, Dr. Paul Zak’s new book, The Moral Molecule, answers such questions as: Why do some people give freely while others are cold hearted? Why do some people cheat and steal while others you can trust with your life? Why are some husbands more faithful than others—and why do women tend to be more generous than men? Could the key to moral behavior lie with a single molecule? From the bucolic English countryside to the highlands of Papua New Guinea, from labs in Switzerland to his campus in Southern California, Dr. Zak recounts his extraordinary stories and sets out, for the first time, his revolutionary theory of moral behavior.
From Ted.com: http://www.ted.com/speakers/paul_zak.html.
What’s behind the human instinct to trust and to put each other’s well-being first? When you think about how much of the world works on a handshake or on holding a door open for somebody, why people cooperate is a huge question. Paul Zak researches oxytocin, a neuropeptide that affects our everyday social interactions and our ability to behave altruistically and cooperatively, applying his findings to the way we make decisions. A pioneer in a new field of study called neuroeconomics, Zak has demonstrated that oxytocin is responsible for a variety of virtuous behaviors in humans such as empathy, generosity and trust. Amazingly, he has also discovered that social networking triggers the same release of oxytocin in the brain -- meaning that e-connections are interpreted by the brain like in-person connections.
A professor at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California, Zak believes most humans are biologically wired to cooperate, but that business and economics ignore the biological foundations of human reciprocity, risking loss: when oxytocin levels are high in subjects, people’s generosity to strangers increases up to 80 percent; and countries with higher levels of trust – lower crime, better education – fare better economically.
He says: "Civilization is dependent on oxytocin. You can't live around people you don't know intimately unless you have something that says: Him I can trust, and this one I can't trust."
About Dr. Paul J. Zak: http://www.cgu.edu/pages/9444.asp.
Paul J. Zak is a scientist, prolific author, entrepreneur, TV personality, and public speaker. He is the founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies and professor of economics, psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University.
Paul Zak also serves as professor of neurology at Loma Linda University Medical Center and is a senior researcher at UCLA.
He has degrees in mathematics and economics from San Diego State University, a PhD in economics from University of Pennsylvania, and post-doctoral training in neuroimaging from Harvard University. He is credited with the first published use of the term "neuroeconomics" and has been a vanguard in this new discipline. He organized and administers the first doctoral program in neuroeconomics in the world at Claremont Graduate University.
Zak is a recognized expert in oxytocin. His lab discovered in 2004 that oxytocin allows us to determine who to trust. His current research is showing 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's website: http://www.moralmolecule.com/.
This lecture series is sponsored by Dr. Michael Shermer's Skeptics Society. http://www.skeptic.com/upcoming-lectures/.
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First come, first served at the door. Limited seating at 375.
$15 for nonmembers
$10 for Skeptics Society members and the JPL/CalTech community.
Your admission fee is a donation that pays for lecture expenses.
Baxter Hall. THIS LECTURE MAY SELL OUT! Stand in line by 1pm at the LATEST to ensure yourself a seat. This is a No-Host event.
Location and Parking Map:
Baxter Hall at CalTech in Pasadena. Free parking on weekends:
Early Dinner Together:
We will be joining the the Skeptics Society in their standing tradition of dinner together after the event, so those of us who wish to take early dinner can meet Outside to the left side of the entry doors.
We have a wonderful group of interesting, nice people; so our social gatherings after these events are always so much fun... come join us!
Dinner is traditionally at Burger Continental. Click on this link for their menu:
535 South Lake Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101
A very nice extensive menu... their salad bar for $5.99 is outstanding!.. so delicious and a nice variety. Enjoy the meal and the wonderful company, everyone!