Customer Review

31 of 70 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars STOP HIM! Before he does even more harm!, June 12, 2012
This review is from: The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity (Hardcover)
This bozo needs to be stopped before he does any more damage. He is not a legitimate researcher, he merely exploits [what should be] the beneficial properties of oxytocin. He exaggerates, twists and completely misrepresents the properties and effects of this peptide. He is the worst sort of snake oil salesman and the only thing he wants is money ... most certainly NOT the advancement of legitimate science.

Oxytocin has a lot of potential, especially for those on the autistic spectrum. But Paul Zak raises fears among potential beneficiaries (including children's parents) that they will be taken undue advantage of, sexually and/or emotionally exploited, etc. People are getting the impression that all you need to do is dose someone with oxytocin and they will give you anything you want. Hogwash, nonsense, downright BS!

It's a shame that charlatans are allowed to pass this kind of crap off as "science." It's even more of a shame that they get people's money by sensationalizing the otherwise benign and beneficial aspects of their "findings." Indeed, the effects of oxytocin have been known for quite a few years. Zak is exploiting the science to make an easy buck. Personally I wouldn't give him the time of day, let alone a nickel out of my pocket.
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Showing 1-10 of 26 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 12, 2012 11:05:31 PM PDT
Reader says:
You must be one of the most ignorant people out there. Look him up -- Nature, Science, Scientific American, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and zillions of other prestigious journals and magazines (surely not into publicizing charlatans in a good way) have published him. READ one of his papers, try to come up with some reasonable criticism. Stop mindlessly attacking people online, that's just stupid.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012 4:58:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 13, 2012 10:36:04 AM PDT
Aer O'Head says:
You prove my point. He's a master at selling himself and his snake oil. (Why does Facebook's recent IPO come to mind? That got a lot of favorable press too.) Unlike most of his readers, I happen to have done my own hands-on research with oxytocin and I'm personally familiar with its effects. BTW, I've read almost all that nonsense you mention since I have a Google news alert on the subject. I tire of Zak's shenanigans and hype.

P.S. The concluding comments of a recent study might shed more light on this:

"Although these data do not specify one mechanism of
action, the fact that oxytocin selectively improved empathic
accuracy for people with higher-but not lower-AQ scores
may provide clues about underlying mechanisms. For example,
these data are consistent with the hypothesis that oxytocin
increases the perceived salience of social cues (e.g., Shamay-
Tsoory et al., 2009), which suggests that oxytocin should benefit
only those individuals who are less attuned to social
information and hence fail to make appropriate judgments of
social cues at baseline. This would, of course, include those
who score high on the AQ. Intriguingly, a recent study reported
an association between empathy and a polymorphism
(rs53576) of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene, with the A/G
or A/A genotypes being associated with lower behavioral and
dispositional empathy (Rodrigues, Saslow, Garcia, John, &
Keltner, 2009). Increases in the salience of social cues may
reflect exogenous oxytocin "correcting" for social-cognitive
inefficiencies related to this OXTR gene polymorphism.
Future work could explore associations between AQ scores
and OXTR gene allelic frequencies.

"Whichever mechanisms prove correct, these data suggest a
more circumscribed answer to the question of who will benefit
from oxytocin, and under what circumstances."

Oxytocin Selectively Improves Empathic Accuracy, Bartz et al, 2010
http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~zaki/Bartz%20et%20al%202010%20OXT%20Acc.pdf

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012 6:15:05 PM PDT
Reader says:
And you just proved my point... You've got no idea what this paper you've just cited or any of Zak's actual papers mean. Too much Air in your head, no?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012 6:54:19 PM PDT
Aer O'Head says:
I'm more curious as to what YOU think they might mean. After all, I think you're the first person clever enough to make such a witty and hilarious comment about my username. I'm clearly out of my league here.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 6:39:25 AM PDT
N.A. Ludd says:
Sounds like someone is low on oxytocin.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 5:27:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 5:28:42 PM PDT
Please share a list of your peer-reviewed papers. It is impossible to evaluate your claims given the lack of a real name.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:10:46 AM PDT
Aer O'Head says:
My claims need a name? Evaluate what you like, any way you like. That's what thinking people do.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2012 11:52:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 29, 2012 11:52:58 AM PDT
This review makes no sense. Did you read the book? Did Zak steal your girlfriend, cheat you out of some money? I just have no clue where you're coming from to trash this book in this way.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 5:30:55 AM PDT
Aer O'Head says:
Social effects of oxytocin in humans: context and person matter
http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~zaki/bartzEtAl_2011_revOXT.pdf

Professor Zak's empirical studies on trust and oxytocin
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268111000163

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012 7:37:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 20, 2012 2:08:30 AM PDT
Reader says:
I am guessing you are on autistic spectrum, that's why it may be the case that OT doesn't work for you the same way as it does for others. Read the book in detail though -- may help understand yourself a bit better. Just because the exact route in the brain (which neuron speaks to which neuron) isn't yet described in that meticulous detail and that there are different OXTR genes, probably a bit differently affecting behavior, does not cancel out the fact that most people do behave more morally when this hormone goes up. Being kind to each other does make this world a better place. I wish there were more scientists like Zak out there.
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