I found this interesting food for thought …
“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)