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Paul Zak Talks to Hug the Monkey

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Paul J. Zak is director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies, Claremont Graduate University; professor of Neurology at Loma Linda University Medical Center; and a senior researcher at UCLA. He has a Ph.D. in economics from University of Pennsylvania and post-doctoral training in neuroimaging from Harvard.

He coined the term "neuroeconomics" to describe the study of how the brain and nervous system affect our behavior in economic exchanges, that is, business and commerce. In 2004, he discovered that oxytocin lets us determine who we can trust. He's using fMRI to understand how oxytocin forms the basis for modern civilizations and modern economies.

His work is exciting to me because it shows that our biological nature is designed to be trusting and reciprocal -- i.e. moral -- even when we do business.