As scientists continue to scrutinize human relationships at the molecular level, marketers do the same thing they’ve always done with each new discovery.

Example: The hormone oxytocin, which is believed to contribute to human bonding and feelings of trust. Women produce it during breastfeeding and orgasm.

In a recent University of Bristol study, test subjects were dosed with either an oxytocin nasal spray or a placebo, then shown a series of photographs of people and asked to rate the faces.

“We found that oxytocin administration increased ratings of trustworthiness and attractiveness of male and female targets in raters of both sexes relative to control ratings, suggesting that higher levels of this neuropeptide may enhance affiliative behaviour towards unfamiliar others,” the authors wrote, possibly in a state of profound excitement. It’s hard to tell.

The profit-minded read stuff like this and register only two words: Love potion! Indeed, there is already a spray on the market purporting to harness the power of oxytocin, Vero Labs’ Liquid Trust. It sells for $50 a bottle, enough to render you irresistible for two months.

They’re so confident it works they offer a 60-day, money-back guarantee. Trust us, they say. And, once hopped up on oxytocin, how could you not?

The good people at Vero don’t judge. Whether you’re using their magic trust juice to boost your love life or your monthly sales, they know that in today’s go-go world there’s no time for the tedious process of actually earning trust. Just spray and go.

Putative aphrodisiacs have a long and undistinguished history, and hucksters have been working on pheromonal versions for years. While it could be argued that such biological social warfare is no more manipulative than cologne or teeth-whitening strips, spiking a potential mate’s brain chemistry seems a little more insidious.

Ethical considerations aside, one would think that the wearer would be as susceptible to the spell of oxytocin as anyone else, walking around in a blissed-out cloud of indiscriminate attraction.

One could purposely dose oneself with Liquid Trust in order to fall for the person you think you should, even if your instincts seem to militate against the hook-up. Eliminate the drudgery of arranged marriages with our fast-acting spray!

Those already in rocky relationships could perhaps save themselves the trouble of either working on their problems or splitting up with a well-placed spritz of this chemical bonding agent.

But what would happen if everyone used it, flooding the neurochemical market with ersatz love? Would we still recognize the real thing? Would the real thing still exist?

Did it ever?

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