Brain Reacts to Charitable Giving
Researchers have found that giving money to charity stimulates the areas of the brain associated with the pleasure of eating a favorite food.
A newly published study in the journal Science said an experiment involving brain scans and reinforces the idea that altruism is a human trait.
The experiment at the University of Oregon involved observing the neural responses in 19 volunteers who made various transactions on a computer. The results showed the nerve cells in the caudate nucleus fired when money was "donated" to a food charity. Those same cells fire when someone eats chocolate or some other favorite treat.
In an unusual twist, the same neural activity showed up when taxes were paid, although not to the same extent as the charitable giving.