Customer Reviews for

The Moral Molecule: How Trust Works

Average Rating 3.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2013

    As a biologist, I was very disappointed in this book. It seems t

    As a biologist, I was very disappointed in this book. It seems that the author, an economist, feels that he is an expert in multiple fields and therefore can expound on them. One precept he is unaware of is "Correlation does not imply causation". Even if his experiments were set up without confounding variables. his conclusions are meaningless. He is looking to prove his hypothesis. In real science, the hypothesis is what we try to disprove. If it is not disproved, the hypothesis may be true. 

    My criticisms include poorly set up experiments (all the subjects are in the same room and they discuss their results with each other afterwards? This might not influence their behavior? Zak stated that "no one knew the subjects' identities" on page 13), really basic errors (poor editing or just ignorance?) such as defining "neoteny" incorrectly, listing the wrong temperature of "dry ice" (pg 11), disproved statements about "subliminal messages" (pg 178, see Chabris and Simons), etc.
    Zak does not have a good grasp of basic evolutionary theory and makes a common mistake, stating that evolution "selects against", when in reality, evolution can only "select for".

    The tone of the book is very conversational, yet he tries to sound like uber-scientist. It feels like he is "talking down" to the reader, yet he fills the pages with mistakes which call the entire premise into question. He does not explain how testing plasma oxytocin relates to CNS oxytocin when the molecule is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier.

    The author would do well to stick to his area of expertise and avoid trying to include biological theory.                                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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