Humans hard-wired to be generous

May 28, 2007

A study by government scientists in Washington indicates humans are hard-wired to be unselfish.

Neuroscientists Jorge Moll and Jordan Grafman of the National Institutes of Health say experiments they conducted have led them to conclude unselfishness is not a matter of morality, The Washington Post reports.

Rather, the two say altruism is something that makes people feel good, lighting up a primitive part of the human brain that usually responds to food or sex.

Grafman and Moll have been scanning the brains of volunteers who were asked to think about a scenario involving either donating a sum of money to charity or keeping it for themselves.

They are among scientists across the United States using imaging and psychological experiments to study whether the brain has a built-in moral compass.

The results are showing many aspects of morality appear to be hard-wired in the brain, opening up a new window on what it means to be good.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.