Are you a giver? Brain scan finds the truth

You have just found a boyfriend. You might be keen to know whether your boyfriend is altruistic and charitable. Any way to find out more?

Well, US researchers reported that altruism, one of the most difficult human behaviors to access, can be detected in a brain scan. Thru their research, it is revealed that an activity is found in a specific area of the brain could predict altruistic behavior.

Undoubtedly, the function of this brain region may not necessarily identify what drives people like Mother Theresa, but these researchers highlight that it give clues to the origins of important behaviour like altruism.

The research done by these researchers are simple:

a. They gather 45 college students into a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner, which can take real-time images of brain activity.

b. The students were given various games to play. They lay in a tube and were told that they had a chance of winning cash for either themselves or their favourite charity. The students had chosen the charities beforehand from a list.

c. Via observation, the students reacted differently depending on whether they won for themselves or for charity with the ones who described themselves as altruistic responding more strongly.

This experiment is quite simple. The students did not give up any payments to themselves to give to the charities. But it cost enough effort that the researchers believe it did represent altruistic intent.

After the test, the researchers interviewed the students on how altruistic they were. They found out that the test strongly correlated with their own reports of unselfish activity, such as helping a stranger or comforting a friend.

From the findings, the researchers disclosed that giving would activate the reword systems in the brain. Besides, another centre was also activated when the students either won money for charity or watched the computer win money for charity.

If you want to find out more about your new boyfriend, perhaps you can consider the above test. Altruism might help you to understand the intentions of your partner!

Altruism, one of the most difficult human behaviors to define, can be detected in brain scans, U.S. researchers reported on Sunday. ‘This area we saw was the posterior superior temporal cortex,’ said Scott Huettel, a neuroscientist at Duke University in North Carolina who led the study. ‘It’s part of the parietal lobe. What this brain area seems to be involved in is extracting meaning from things you see.’ (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Handout/Reuters)

What Is Altruism?
1. Loving others as oneself.
2. Behaviour that promotes the survival chances of others at a cost to ones own.
3. Self-sacrifice for the benefit of others
[Italian: altrui others]