Altruistic behavior takes place in a different part of the brain than similar self-help activities, new research reveals.
Scientists at the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford have pinpointed areas of the brain that are particularly involved in striving to help others.
Research published in modern biology, The choices people make to help others are made in another part of the brain that is used to make physically demanding choices to help themselves.
A more precise understanding of what is happening in the brain when these decisions are made could help clinicians develop approaches to treat psychopathic behavior. It could also help us better understand why people are willing to go out of their way to help, like taking action, recycling waste to slow global warming, or stopping to help a stranger. there is.
An identified region called the anterior cingulate cortical gyrus (ACCg) is located towards the front of the brain. Although it is known to be involved in social behavior, it has so far not been associated with efforts to help others. We found that ACCg is not activated when doing so.
“From keeping the door open to volunteering for charity, we often have to decide if we can make an effort to help others, but these The brain mechanisms behind the actions of the paper remain elusive.”By identifying the specific brain regions that are activated when people need to exert effort, we are working to find ways to help people.” We are one step closer to understanding what drives some individuals and others to make often physically demanding decisions that do not directly benefit themselves. “
In this study, researchers worked with 38 participants between the ages of 18 and 35. All participants were individually asked to participate in a difficult decision-making task and complete a questionnaire to self-assess their empathy level.
Participants made decisions while undergoing functional MRI scans. It identifies different areas of the brain that are activated when people decide to “work” or “rest” to help themselves or someone else.
If you chose the work option, you had to hold a device that measures your grip strength. I had to do this for a long time until I reached a threshold that I could see in real time on the screen. For each decision they were told whether to work for themselves or for others. If they decided to try, they had to squeeze hard enough to reach the threshold and get the reward. For an anonymous person, it was a variety of points converted into money.
Using new statistical techniques to analyze the data, researchers were able to identify patterns in the brain that indicate how much effort people would like to put in. These decisions were made to help someone else, but they made the decision to strive to reward themselves. Interestingly, those who reported being very empathetic had the strongest effort patterns on the ACCg. Researchers also found that those who expressed greater effort on the ACCg increased their grip strength to help.
The research team’s next step is to investigate what happens to striving supportive behaviors in people who have suffered damage to that area of the brain from a stroke or other brain injury. We plan to study what happens to people with high levels of , and it is possible that both their willingness to put forth effort in activities and their willingness to help others differ.
This work was supported by UK Research and Innovation, Wellcome Trust and Royal Society, as well as Christ Church, Oxford and the Jacobs Foundation.
Materials provided University of Birmingham. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.