Moderators, why is there so little space to give a full title? Here is what I really want to ask:
Are we programmed--perhaps even self-programmed to be generous, loving, hopeful, religious, atheist, agnostic, cynical, etc.?

Yesterday (Dec 23) The CBC broadcast the following item
Gifts and Psychology

For many, 'tis the season to be panicking, elbowing your way through the malls in one last attempt at finding the perfect gift… or any gift… or whatever gift is left… for a friend or family member. But it turns out the reason we're willing to put ourselves through this ritual, year after year, isn't entirely selfless.

Take famously grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge as a case in point. He wakes up Christmas morning with a bright new zest for life. It seems that Scrooge's giddiness as he discovers the joys of giving… well… it might be addictive. At least according to psychologists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

A couple of years ago, Dr. Jordan Grafman
and his team had volunteers play a computer game. The game would give the volunteers gifts. And, in turn, they were given the chance to donate to a charity. As they played the game, the researchers scanned their brains using a technique called "functional MRI".

Dr. Grafman is the head of the Cognitive Neuroscience Section at the Institute. He joined Anna Maria (host of The Current--a CBC morning show) from Bethesda, Maryland to explain what they found....

The story went on to tell how scientists, using a special kind of MRI brain scan, tapped into the brains reward system located in the most human part of the brain, the pre-frontal lobe--the unique human area most recently evolved.

They are able to uncover scientific data suggesting giving makes us feel gets the cuddle chemical - oxytocin - firing in our brains. This makes us feel good.

Dr. Grafman said: "We found that people's reward system was highly activated when they donated money to good causes... obviously higher than when they just received money."..." We were surprised at the magnitude of this release of oxytocin ..." The host commented: "The Bible does tell us that it is "more blessed to give than to receive." ... He agreed and added,"This a rather exciting and interesting finding for us."

The he went on to explain that this has all kinds of social implications and what it means to be moral and ethical human beings (Religious? Spiritual?).

Oxytocin activity in the frontal lobe is always involved when it comes to things like:
mother love,
the sense of bonding with children,
with other people in the community,
the warm and fuzzy feeling we have with people we like,
the helping of good causes--such as charities, movements, churches in which we believe,
doing things that make us feel good.
Rewards, having to do with things like sex and food, are connected to deeper and more primitive areas of the brain.

There is, now, biological evidence that doing good things, about which we feel good, makes us feel good. It appears that altruism and cooperation, which builds community, is better than greed. By and large, we don't feel good when we are selfish and greedy.

To check out the research centre:

Edited by Revlgking (12/24/08 10:30 PM)
Edit Reason: Always needs it.