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News and Opinions

Giving Proof

A recent study showed that generosity changed the activity in people’s brains in ways that increase feelings of happiness, even if the generous act is small or only imagined. In effect, the pledge to be generous primed people to be more giving. There are probably evolutionary undercurrents to this process, says Thorsten Kahnt. Though the experiment lasted only a short time and involved only simulated gains and losses, Kahnt says that “it does show a mechanistic linkage in the brain between doing something nice for someone and feeling better about yourself.”

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