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January 22, 2007

Altruism Is All in Your Head

Altruism may be all in the brain, according to researchers who say unselfish people have more activity in the area of the brain called the posterior superior tempral cortex (pSTC). This is the area of the brain that helps us perceive the intentions and actions of others.

"Perhaps altruism did not grow out of a warm-glow feeling of doing good for others, but out of the simple recognition that that thing over there is a person that has intentions and goals. And therefore, I might want to treat them like I might want them to treat myself," explained study author Scott Huettel, an associate professor of psychology at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, N.C.

Why Do Good? Brain Study Offers Clues

Filed under Brain Research


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