DDN: Air Force Research in Ohio Studies Trustworthiness

Feb 17, 2012

The Air Force is trying to determine whether blood samples can be used to measure trust in a million-dollar
research project at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in western Ohio.

Research psychologist James Christensen tells the Dayton Daily News the effort isn't aimed at building a "trust-o-meter." But he says finding a way to objectively measure trustworthiness could help in assigning workers to sensitive jobs or missions.

Study participants go through set scenarios with a trusted partner and then with a stranger and are tested on keeping a secret. The researchers monitor the participants' heart and brain activity and blood levels of the hormone oxytocin, which has been associated with trustworthiness.

Some scientists are skeptical about whether that's a reliable indicator because it can be affected by other factors.
Information from: Dayton Daily News,