Altruism – it’s a brain thing!

Researchers at Duke University in the US have hit upon a new technique that might make life easier for fundraisers. They have discovered that the tendency to be selfish or altruistic might depend on activation of a particular brain region – the posterior superior temporal sulcus.

Using a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of 45 survey participants, the researchers found that activation of this region is strongly correlated with altruistic behaviour. ‘We believe that the ability to perceive other people’s actions as meaningful is critical for altruism,’ said lead researcher Dharol Tankersley. So, fundraisers: first, corner your prospect, then make him or her undergo a brain scan …

Science Daily, 22 January 2007

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