Discovered region of the brain “Switch” of generosity”: it turns on when you try to help others
Brain region that controls generosity identified. The research was published in the journal of the’American Academy of Sciences (Pnas). According to scholars from the’University of Oxford and from University College London (Ucl) that region of the brain is more active in empathetic and altruistic people. Study coordinator Patricia Lockwood explained that “Pro-social behaviors aimed at helping others are fundamental to human interactions, to create social bonds and cohesion, but until now we knew little about how and why they arose”. “Although people have a strong inclination to have pro-social behaviors, there are significant differences from individual to individual. Empathy, that is, the ability to put oneself in the shoes of others to understand their point of view, has been pointed to many times as the driving force behind pro-social behavior, but we wanted to understand how and why the two were connected”. “A specific part of the brain, called the anterior subgenual cingulate cortex, the researcher adds, was found to be the’only region activated when learning to help others”. “In any case, precise this brain region is not equally active in all people.
Individuals who describe themselves as more empathetic are those who learn faster ways to help others: they also show more intense activity of neurons in the anterior subgenual cingulate cortex while doing good for others”. The discovery is important, comments Giovanni D’Agata, president of the "Sportello dei Diritti," in order to understand some psychiatric diseases characterized by highly antisocial behavior. To shed light on the issue, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to monitor the brain activity of a group of volunteers who were asked to perform a test that consisted of identifying symbols that might involve gratification, for themselves or others.