CNN posted an interesting article about how when people choose to be charitable (i.e., give money away) that the nucleus accumbens, which is termed the “pleasure center” of the brain, and the caudate nucleus showed heightened activity. It’s turning out that the nucleus accumbens is involved in far more activities than we’ve ever realized. It’s an area of the brain that is heavily tied to the dopaminergic system and is directly tied to drug use, eating, sex, and pretty much anything else that people can enjoy. In addition, assumed dysfunction or dysregulation of the nucleus accumbens is tied to addictive behaviors. It’s not surprising then that a behavior that is enjoyable to so many – being charitable – is related to activity in the nucleus accumbens. Maybe some people are just Scrooges because they have too little dopamine in their brains [pure speculation and meant to be slightly humorous but it is a hypothesis that could be worth testing].
Image courtesy of benevolink