Oxytocin, morality, trust and empathy

In the Imago Getting the Love You Want workshop we talk a lot about the importance of empathy in sustaining loving relationships.  On the second morning of a recent workshop, as I checked my emails prior to starting,  I clicked on the link to Paul Zak’s TED talk on the connection between oxytocin levels and trust, trustworthiness, morality and empathy.  I was blown away.  I quote:  “it’s empathy that makes us connect to other people, …it’s empathy that makes us moral.”  I especially love his conclusion – that the best way to enhance oxytocin levels and hence empathy and moral behavior is simply – to hug!  The more often we hold each other, the more we connect, the more we touch each other in loving ways, the more oxytocin is generated, the more empathy we feel, and the more trustworthy and moral our interactions become.  Paul Zak recommends we hug each other eight times a day.  Couldn’t have said it better myself!



Paul Zak TED talk on the role of oxytocin in empathy, trust and morality

Posted by Laura

Laura Marshall, LCSW, is the founder and director of the Sagebrush Center for Relationship Therapy. Her experience spans thirty years of supporting couples and individuals to create healthy and meaningful lives and relationships. She is also adjunct faculty for the New Mexico Highlands School of Social Work. She lives with her husband Steve and five sons in Farmington, New Mexico.

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