Friday, May 21, 2010

When The 'Trust Hormone' Is Out Of Balance : NPR

When The 'Trust Hormone' Is Out Of Balance : NPR

Isabelle, you see, says "I love you" to everyone: to parents at her school, to people from the neighborhood, to the salesman at Circuit City.

"Oh, all the time," Jessica says. "To Isabelle, there are no strangers — only friends she's not yet met."

The problem is that Isabelle has Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder with a number of symptoms. The children are often physically small and often have developmental delays. But also, kids and adults with Williams love people and are pathologically trusting: They literally have no social fear.

Researchers theorize that this is probably because of a problem with the area in their brain that regulates the manufacture and release of oxytocin. Somehow, the system in which oxytocin operates has been disrupted in a way that makes it essentially biologically impossible for kids like Isabelle to distrust.

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