Research that I have done over the past decade suggests that a chemical messenger called oxytocin accounts for why some people give freely of themselves and others are coldhearted louts, why some people cheat and steal and others you can trust with your life, why some husbands are more faithful than others, and why women tend to be nicer and more generous than men. In our blood and in the brain, oxytocin appears to be the chemical elixir that creates bonds of trust not just in our intimate relationships but also in our business dealings, in politics and in society at large. Known primarily as a female reproductive hormone, oxytocin controls contractions during labor...
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Has the internet in general and Facebook in particular ushered in a golden age in which we better understand, trust, and connect with our neighbors? The Pew Internet & American Life Project writes:
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When we control for demographic factors, we find that there is a significant relationship between trust and the use of Facebook – not other social networking sites. A Facebook user who uses the service multiple times per day is 43% more likely than other internet users, or three times (3.07x) more likely than a non-internet user, to feel that “most people can be trusted.”
When we control for demographic factors, we find that internet users are significantly more likely to trust most people. Controlling for demographic factors, internet users are more than twice as likely (2.14x) to think that most people can be trusted.
To get a measure of how much trust people have in their fellow citizens, we asked people: “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?” 41% of Americans said that most people can be trusted.