- Prosocial behavior is essential for social bonding,
cohesion and also benefits other people.
- Emapthy is said to be the critical motivator of
- People readily learn to make choices that
benefit themselves and others and the subgenual
anterior cingulate cortex was activated when learning to help other people.
- People with higher levels of empathy learnt to benefit
others faster than those who had lower levels of empathy.
of the brain that helps people learn to be good to others have been identified
by scientists from Oxford University and UCL. Currently, very little is known
as to how and why people do things to help others. This discovery could also
help understand the nature of psychopaths who exhibit extremely anti-social
behaviors are fundamental aspects of human behaviors which benefit other people
and are essential for social bonding and cohesion. Though every individual has
an inclination to engage in prosocial behavior, there are substantial
differences among them.
‘Subgenual anterior cingulate cortex of the brain shows increased signaling in people who had higher levels of empathy while they engaged in learning to do good for others.’
the willingness to put oneself in others shoes or to vicariously understand and
experience another person's feelings is said to be a critical motivator of
prosocial behavior. This study led by Dr.Patricia Lockwood establishes a
possible link between empathy and learning to help others.
A well-understood model was used to understand how people learn to maximize good
outcomes for themselves. This was then applied to
understand how people learn to help others. Volunteers had to identify which
symbols were more likely to give them, or someone else, a reward and
this was monitored using MRI scanning
found that though people readily learn to make choices that benefit others,
they do not learn it as fast as they learn to benefit themselves. But a particular brain area involved in learning to get the best result
for other people was identified.
Lockwood said: "A specific part of the brain
called the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex was the only part of the brain
that was activated when learning to help other people. Put another way, the
subgenual anterior cingulate seems to be especially tuned to benefiting other
This region of the brain varied in
the activity level in every
person. People who reported having higher levels
of empathy learnt to benefit others faster than those who had lower levels of empathy. Increased
signaling in their subgenual anterior cingulate cortex when benefiting others
were also seen in such individuals.
study shows that learning prosocial behaviors involves
a particular brain process and also establishes a possible
link between empathy and learning to help others. By understanding how
brain functions when we do things for other people, and the individual differences in this ability, helps
to better understand what is goes wrong in those whose psychological conditions are characterized by antisocial disregard for others.
- Scientists find the brain's generosity center - (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/uoo-sft081216.php)