Neurological Basis of Altruism

Altruistic behavior is often seen as a hallmark of civilized person. Defined as a selfless concern for the well-being of others, or action/behavior that benefits others at someone’s own expense, altruism was, for very long time, viewed from two opposite perspectives. Some would argue that altruism is an integral part of human nature, something that is written in our genes. Others would say that altruism is a product of civilizing influence which start to appear in human society with the development of culture and/or religion. The question appears to be mostly philosophical rather than scientific, and indeed it was mostly discussed and analyzed in philosophical and theological circles. Surprisingly, more definitive answer to this question may come from neuroscience. Indeed, recent research findings provide convincing evidences that, to a certain…

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