Research that I have done over the past decade suggests that a chemical messenger called oxytocin accounts for why some people give freely of themselves and others are coldhearted louts, why some people cheat and steal and others you can trust with your life, why some husbands are more faithful than others, and why women tend to be nicer and more generous than men. In our blood and in the brain, oxytocin appears to be the chemical elixir that creates bonds of trust not just in our intimate relationships but also in our business dealings, in politics and in society at large.
“Baby, I was born this way.” More and more, it looks as if the boundaries of our potential are wired into our genetic makeup at birth. IQ has a hereditary component, physical abilities have heritable components, and now it appears that trust and selflessness also have a physical foundation and thus a heritable component. But just like our innate physical abilities, while the boundaries may be set, what we actually do within those boundaries is in a sense up to our choices.