Jorge Moll has an important job as a neuroscientist at the National Institutes of Health. Sometimes his research definitely takes on some surprising turns, such as when he was recently scanning the brains of volunteers. Needless to say, he and his team of researchers had one amazing and exciting epiphany.
The context of the experiment makes it even more powerful. Jorge Moll and his associates asked the volunteers to imagine a scenario where they had a large amount of money and could either keep it for themselves or give it all away. When Jorge Moll examined the brains of those who had the opportunity to give away a pot of $128, he and his team noticed that the anterior prefrontal cortex of the brain lit up.
Of course, Moll decided to take it a step further because both of the brains of people who either kept the money for themselves or donated it lit up. He asked the people who had elected to donate how often they really did it in their daily life. He also considered the whole entire group of people, and assigned them each a rating for every time their anterior prefrontal cortex lit up. Perhaps not surprisingly, Moll discovered that those who decided to donate the money actually had the highest ratings (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm9093728/).
What was the application for everyone, and for the rest of the human race? This is what Jorge Moll and his team had to determine. They reached this important conclusion: human beings are hard-wired to help others in any way they can. These actions actually lit up a primitive part of the brain that usually only lights up for such activities as food or sex. Simply put, human beings have the instinct to put the interests of others above their own. In a sense, altruism is hard-wired in the brain and is every bit as pleasurable as other human activities. Jorge Moll realizes that this is quite possibly an amazing scientific breakthrough, and he is thoroughly correct.