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Altruistic behavior: mapping responses in the brain

Authors Filkowski MM, Cochran RN, Haas BW

Received 5 March 2016

Accepted for publication 19 September 2016

Published 4 November 2016 Volume 2016:5 Pages 65—75


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor SH Annabel Chen

Megan M Filkowski,1 R Nick Cochran,1 Brian W Haas1,2

1Department of Psychology, 2Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA

Altruism is an important social construct related to human relationships and the way many interpersonal and economic decisions are made. Recent progress in social neuroscience research shows that altruism is associated with a specific pattern of brain activity. The tendency to engage in altruistic behaviors is associated with greater activity within limbic regions such as the nucleus accumbens and anterior cingulate cortex in addition to cortical regions such as the medial prefrontal cortex and temporoparietal junction. Here, we review existing theoretical models of altruism as well as recent empirical neuroimaging research demonstrating how altruism is processed within the brain. This review not only highlights the progress in neuroscience research on altruism but also shows that there exist several open questions that remain unexplored.

Keywords: altruism, fMRI, social neuroscience

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