Brain gets a thrill from charity
POSTED: 6:35 p.m. EDT, June 14, 2007
ΓΆβ‚¬ΒΆ Giving money to charity activates brain pleasure centers
ΓΆβ‚¬ΒΆ Pleasure occurred when giving was mandatory; more when it was by choice
ΓΆβ‚¬ΒΆ Pleasure was in areas for basic needs: food, sex, shelter, social connection
ΓΆβ‚¬ΒΆ Researcher: Pleasure in mandatory giving suggests existence of pure altruism
CHICAGO, Illinois (Reuters) -- Knowing your money is going to a good cause can activate some of the same pleasure centers in your brain as food and sex, U.S. researchers said Thursday.
People who participated in a study got a charge knowing that their money went to a charity -- even when the contribution was mandatory, like a tax. They felt even better when they voluntarily made a donation, researchers found.
Ulrich Mayr, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon, said the research sheds light on the nature of altruism and could help people feel better about being taxed.
"It shows that in an ideal world you could have a tax situation where you could be a satisfied taxpayer," said Mayr, whose study appeared in the journal Science.