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Friday, July 06, 2007

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 Brain imaging studies reveal biological basis for human cooperation

Morality evolved. Suck it, creationists:
Functional MRI scans have revealed a "biologically embedded" basis for altruistic behavior, with several characteristic regions of the brain being activated when players of a game called "Prisoner's Dilemma" decide to trust each other and cooperate, rather than betray each other for immediate gain, say researchers from Emory University. They report on their study in the July 18 issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press....

"Our study shows, for the first time, that social cooperation is intrinsically rewarding to the human brain, even in the face of pressures to the contrary, " said Gregory S. Berns, M.D., Ph.D., co-investigator and associate professor of psychiatry in the Emory University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and member of the CBN. "It suggests that the altruistic drive to cooperate is biologically embedded-- either genetically programmed or acquired through socialization during childhood and adolescence."
That is, not from the bible.
"Reciprocal altruism activates a reward circuit, and this activation may often be sufficiently reinforcing to override subsequent temptations to accept but not reciprocate altruism. This may be what motivates us to persist with cooperative social interactions and reap the benefits of sustained mutual cooperation," said Dr. Rilling.

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