Why we praise others

April 23rd, 2008 - 12:52 pm ICT by admin  

Tokyo, April 23 (IANS) Why are we nice to others? One answer provided by social scientists is because it pays off. They theorise that people do something nice for a good reputation or social approval just like working for a salary.

A research team led by Norihiro Sadato of the Japanese National Institute for Physiological Sciences and Keise Izuma of the Graduate University for Advanced Studies now have neural evidence that perceiving one’s good reputation formed by others, activates the striatum, the brain’s reward system, in a similar manner to monetary reward.

The team conducted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) experiments on 19 people with monetary and social rewards.

The acquisition of good reputation robustly activated reward-related brain areas, notably the striatum, and these overlapped with the areas activated by monetary rewards.

These results strongly suggest that social reward is processed in the striatum like monetary reward.

Considering the pivotal role, played by good reputation in social interactions, this study provides an important first step towards neural explanation for our everyday social behaviour.

The findings will appear in the forthcoming issue of NEURON.

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