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Your Decision to Be Altruistic is More Selfish Than You Think

Alessandra Rizzotti

You may think you want to do good just because it's in your nature, but the actual act of making a difference activates your brain's reward systems. So, technically, you're doing good for selfish reasons, according to a study in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The question is, "Do people feel rewarded when they give because they think about the happiness of the recipient — or do they feel good because they see themselves as generous and that self-esteem boost is mood-enhancing?"

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  • T.v. Brown

    I have attempted to convey this exact notion to those who are wondering just what it is I personally gain through being ultra-genial with nearly all of my encounters, especially the 'strangers'...If one gets past the motivation of immediate tangible benefits and begins helping/benefiting their 'social habitat' as a norm, seeing those instances as the opportunity to affect a whole cosm in your best interests (the selfish benefits of being altruistic become clear-er, as your world changes to suit your needs)

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      I think we all can change our environments to fit our needs, but when we do it for others too, the environment becomes that much more beneficial to fulfilling our needs - especially for human interaction.