Paul J. Zak, Ph.D.
Paul J. Zak, Ph.D., is a scientist, author, and public speaker. His book, The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity, was published in 2012 and was a finalist for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize. He is the founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and professor of economics, psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University. Zak also serves as professor of neurology at Loma Linda University Medical Center. He has degrees in mathematics and economics from San Diego State University, a Ph.D. in economics from University of Pennsylvania, and postdoctoral training in neuroimaging from Harvard. He is credited with the first published use of the term “neuroeconomics” and has been a vanguard in this new discipline. He organized and administers the first doctoral program in neuroeconomics. Zak’s lab discovered in 2004 that the brain chemical oxytocin allows us to determine who to trust. His current research has shown that oxytocin is responsible for virtuous behaviors, working as the brain’s “moral molecule.”
Matthieu Ricard and Wolf Singer’s Beyond the Self: Conversations between Buddhism and NeuroscienceBook Review
In this book review, two friends, one a Buddhist monk trained as a molecular biologist, and the other, a distinguished neuroscientist—offer their perspectives on the mind, the self, consciousness, the unconscious, free will, epistemology, meditation, and neuroplasticity.
Why Inspiring Stories Make Us React: The Neuroscience of Narrative
The man behind the discovery of the behavioral effect of a neurochemical in the brain called oxytocin wondered if the molecule might motivate people to engage in cooperative behaviors. In a series of tests using videos, his lab discovered that compelling narratives cause oxytocin release and have the power to affect our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.