Neuroscience of Altruism

Why do you help people or volunteer? Other than a sense of duty or responsibility, most people do it because they feel its fulfilling and feels good. If you’re like me, you sometimes feel helping people is almost selfish, because you feel like your doing it to be happy, instead of to to make the people your helping happy. But emotions and the brain are confusing, and philosophical debate hardly ever -as fun and interesting as it is- gets you to terribly far. So thank goodness for neuroscience.

The guys over at Boing Boing caught an interesting report on altruism. That

(excerpt from what Boing Boing wrote)

suggests that we don’t perform acts of altruism because it feels good but rather because we recognize that other people’s actions and place in the world is meaningful. It’s something like a Golden Rule model that has evolved based on “the simple recognition that that thing over there is a person that has intentions and goals,” says Duke University Medical Center psychologist Scott Huettel. “And therefore, I might want to treat them like I might want them to treat myself.”

It goes on to Explain that this can be theorised because of what part of the brain is firing when you feel your doing something selfless – most importantly, it not the part of your brain responsible for personal pleasure and rewards. Read Boing Boing’s article here. More Links to be found on their site. Read the Original Article here

2 responses to “Neuroscience of Altruism

  1. wow. i only say that because i had no idea you knew boing boing. you do know who it is right? at least who one of them is: cory doctorow. author of “eastern standard tribe” . which of course you know.

    anyway, i don’t think i agree with what it says. but then again, i don’t like helping people.

  2. yeah i knew that, he made some scifi reading recomendations recently on boing boing.

    word, hip thing about science is it doenst take any of us agreeing with it to be true. try reading the whole original article, its pretty neat.

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