The Science of Trust and Love

Dr. Paul Zak
by Flow Research Collective
August 1, 2023
Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have more energy at work, collaborate better with their colleagues, and stay with their employers longer than people working at low-trust companies.
Dr. Paul Zak

In this episode, we are joined by Dr. Paul Zak. You may have heard Dr. Paul Zak’s name mentioned in the same sentence as the word “trust” before. He is the author of the “Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies”.

He also wrote the “The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity”.
In this book, he recounts his unlikely discovery of the neurochemical oxytocin as the key driver of trust, love and morality. 

In fact, Paul Zak’s research on oxytocin and relationships has actually earned him the nickname Dr. Love.

And I can tell you, Dr. Love suits Paul a ton. You're going to see why in this episode. 

He is just such a fun, great guy and Steven and I had an absolute blast kicking it with him when we were recording this episode. 

In today's episode with Paul, we draw on the ideas that underscore the work that he has done with everyone from the Pentagon to Fortune 50 companies to working with tribes in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea. 

We talk about everything - from how to dump more oxytocin into your brain, to tools needed to become a high trust leader as well as the difference between faith and trust from a neurobiological perspective. 

We go broad, and we go wide on the topic of trust, and how it relates to flow and peak performance. It’s a super fun one. 

And we really began to hit our stride about halfway through the episode. So make sure that you stay tuned until the end.


In this episode, you will learn about:

  • What happens to oxytocin in the era of physical and social distancing and increased remote work?  (4:00)
  • Background and details on oxytocin (8:10)
  • The relationship between the size of a group, community, company or country and trust (12:30)
  • The eight foundations for organizational trust (14:10)
  • Vulnerability is a very effective way to induce oxytocin release (21:10)
  • How to create candor and transparency in an organization (24:10)
  • Social bonding and love at work (36:50)
  • Trust, oxytocin and group flow (45:00)
  • Social media and oxytocin (49:00)
  • The dark side of our social nature (54:20)


Paul is the founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and Professor of Economics, Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. 

He has degrees in mathematics and economics from San Diego State University, a Ph.D. in economics from University of Pennsylvania, and post-doctoral training in neuroimaging from Harvard. 

He runs an academic lab, consumer neuroscience company, and neuromanagement company. 

He also serves as a senior advisor to Finsbury, a global leader in strategic communications that advises many of the world’s most successful companies.


Web: Dr. Paul Zak’s Website

Book: Trust Factor

Book: The Moral Molecule

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