Brain Basis for Altruism:”…the reasons for being gracious to someone appear to be hidden in how cortical and subcortical structures communicate with each other.”
“Whether we want to increase altruism in an already cooperative group or in individuals with deficits in prosocial skills, we should focus on emphasizing reciprocity or empathy, respectively.”
In humans, two completely different motives may nevertheless lead to exactly the same behavior. Because we can’t directly observe motives, modern economists often completely disregard them. However, …different human motives can yield observable responses in the brain.
In empathy-based and reciprocity-based altruistic behavior, the direction and the strength of functional connectivity between specific brain regions were different for each motive. Moreover, the connectivity patterns were independent of the behavioral implications of the motives.