SALON - June 2 - Science explains why so many smart people let their guard down in the realm of online dating. Needs for social binds and the resulting reward of neurotransmitters reinforce behaviors such as reaching out and connecting even when faced with diminishing returns. Connecting with another individual is reinforced through neurotransmitter systems such as dopamine and oxytocin. These systems, when activated, also suppress aspects of deliberative reasoning, as we are more likely to trust the object of our affection and less attentive to the contingencies of their behavior. Sadly, catfishers exploit these properties by amping up the reward aspects (daily calls, frequent communication) hoping to suppress skeptical thinking. Understanding our hardwired biases is critical to help support the victims who often blame themselves and feel isolated through the experience.