People donate to charity for many reasons. Often they do not do so for altruistic reasons, but, for example, to demonstrate their generosity toward others. Researchers from the University of Oregon studied the pure altruism, when a person sincerely wants to help without thinking about personal gain.
The experiment involved 80 men and women aged 18 to 67 years, reports the Deccan Chronicle. The volunteers decide whether they want to donate money to charity or keep. Experts monitored the brain activity of participants using fMRI. Also, volunteers completed personal questionnaires.
The study showed that in some people the areas associated with reward were more active when they left money for themselves. Scientists have linked it with greed. And in others, these zones were activated when money went to charity, suggesting altruism. These volunteers also donated more money, and they had more pronounced pro-social personality traits.
Experts called it as a general goodwill. Its level was higher in people over 45 years old. Religiosity correlated with a total goodwill. But this characteristic was not related to sex, political views and the income level of participants. Scientists believe: life experience makes people altruistic.