Monday, January 22, 2007

Caregiving: Why do good?

I found this interesting food for thought …


Why Do Good? Brain Study Offers Clues


“People may not perform selfless acts just for an emotional reward, a new brain study suggests.


Instead, they may do good because they're acutely tuned into the needs and actions of others.


Scientists say a piece of the brain linked to perceiving others' intentions shows more activity in unselfish vs. selfish types. 


"It's not exactly empathy," … but something more primitive.


… a whole other brain region, called the posterior superior temporal cortex (pSTC), kicked into high gear as altruism levels rose.


The pSTC is located near the back of the brain and is not focused on reward. Instead, it focuses on perceiving others' intentions and actions…


This type of perception would have allowed humans' more primitive ancestors to quickly pick out a potential threat -- a crouching lion, for example -- from amid a mass of less important stimuli.


The bottom line … is that altruism may rely on a basic understanding that others have motivations and actions that may be similar to our own.”


(click the blue headline for the full article)


  1. Wow...interresting.

  2. Could these studies be telling us that altruism and its many catagories originated in the basic, primal need to survive?  And that perhaps once our needs were meet more fully (argri-society) we could focus more on the rewards of being empathetic.  Also of interest is that the posterior  temporal cortex is located not far from the dura - the area involved in sight.  So maybe as humans evolved, it was when we saw hunger or fright in another, the instinct to survive (read reward) became a simple act of kindness (read kindness for its own sake).  Great post Patrick, being aware of intent threads out into being aware of need, I'd say.  Thanks.  xoxo CATHY    

  3. interesting:) have a good week


  4. Very interesting Patrick.  I can see what they mean especially from the second paragraph and primitive ancestors.......could this be part of what we call 'sixth sence'.  It's an interesting study, there could be benefits in the future to the people they mention.  Hope the headaches are ok. Rache

  5. hhhhmmm.... interesting.... Thanks, Patrick

  6. I'm not to old to learn something new, How bout that.
    God Bless,
    Liz in Va.

  7. Very interesting... brain study guides our educational practices. In children, I can see that some are already more sensitive to the needs of others, for no apparent reward. Some kids are kinder and gentler in their interactions with other kids, and adults. I have one student who sensed when I was stressed, and without a word he walked up behind me and massaged my shoulder. He said, "I know what you need, Mrs. Gilmore. You need a massage." A first grader! I asked him if his mother massaged his shoulders like that, and he said yes. THanks for the link. Bea

  8. .....interesting research!    I think I have known a few of these brains.


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