Paul Zak

Paul Zak, university professor, author, and international speaker, is at the forefront of research pinpointing the “moral molecule” behind virtue, trust, generosity, and affection.  Dubbed by the media as “Dr. Love,” Zak will share his revolutionary insights into human behavior on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. at the Riverside Community Center for Spiritual Living.  Admission is free but donations will be accepted.


An economist and brain researcher at Claremont Graduate University, Zak says the good feelings we get from trust and love are are tied to the brain's natural release of oxytocin, the same ancient chemical responsible for the bonding of mother and newborn child or affection between mates.


Zak has found that oxytocin, which he calls “the moral molecule,” plays an important role in creating feelings of empathy and human bonding, and can be boosted naturally through such simple techniques as hugging one another. This knowledge can be applied to understand the workings of modern civilizations and economies, improve negotiations, or treat patients with neurological or psychiatric disorders. It has implications for grasping both the nature and power of the human mind.

Zak’s work addresses some nagging questions:

  • 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?

Zak’s research has included drawing blood from wedding participants — bride and groom, family and friends — confirming that the ceremony triggered a rise in oxytocin levels. He has also measured heightened oxytocin levels in people following massages, dancing, praying, and in tribal warriors from Papua, New Guinea engaged in traditional rituals. Zak suggests that intimate contact, social ritual, and even social media like Twitter and Facebook, raises oxytocin levels.


He is the author of The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity (Dutton 2012), and his popular blog, “The Moral Molecule,” is featured on the Psychology Today website. A featured TED speaker in 2011, Zak has also appeared on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Fox & Friends, ABC Evening News, NOVA Science Now, and NPR. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, The Economist, Scientific American, Fast Company, Forbes, and many other publications.


The Riverside Community Center for Spiritual Living

 is hosting Zak’s appearance, which is a presentation by The New Thought Music Festival .

The Center is located at 3891 Ridge Road, Riverside, CA, 92501, near Fairmount Park.


Related links:


Book website:

TED video:

Center for Neuroeconomic Studies:



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