Found: Altruism Brain Cells

  • metta

    Posts: 39138

    Dec 28, 2012 9:35 PM GMT
    Found: Altruism Brain Cells


    http://www.livescience.com/25860-altruism-brain-cells-found.html
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Dec 29, 2012 1:04 AM GMT
    so it fires when you give head but not when you top?
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    Dec 29, 2012 1:11 AM GMT
    So a good deed is it's own reward? Guess I don't have brag about all I do now icon_wink.gif
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    Dec 29, 2012 3:58 AM GMT
    A biological basis for moral/altruistic behavior outside of any spiritual education.
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    Dec 29, 2012 4:09 AM GMT
    minox saidA biological basis for moral/altruistic behavior outside of any spiritual education.


    You're assuming the monkeys haven't found God.

    Is it the neurons lighting up which cause the switch to be toggled or is it that the switch was toggled that caused the neurons to light up?

    hanuman.jpg
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    Dec 29, 2012 4:23 AM GMT
    theantijock said
    minox saidA biological basis for moral/altruistic behavior outside of any spiritual education.


    You're assuming the monkeys haven't found God.

    Is it the neurons lighting up which cause the switch to be toggled or is it that the switch was toggled that caused the neurons to light up?


    ;-)

    The main interest here, for me, is that it invalidate philosophical stance assuming that we are by nature selfish, and that 'good' behavior is the result of education and rational choice to follow moral dogma.

    The article mostly say that we are 'wired' to know if we act for ourselves or for others, and that explain why even mouse can feel empathy and factor it to choose behaviors.
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    Dec 29, 2012 4:26 AM GMT
    hmmmm? not so sure.. cause/effect possibly... wouldn't any and all actions-reactions cause neural firing? Perhaps this is merely a locale vs a cause.. either way, of course, it's a great discovery but, it seems a bit rash to decide that it's the egg and not the chicken. More proof is needed to convince me et.al.,I'm sure, that the cells are the cause and not the effect.
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    Dec 29, 2012 4:29 AM GMT
    minox said
    theantijock said
    minox saidA biological basis for moral/altruistic behavior outside of any spiritual education.


    You're assuming the monkeys haven't found God.

    Is it the neurons lighting up which cause the switch to be toggled or is it that the switch was toggled that caused the neurons to light up?


    ;-)

    The main interest here, for me, is that it invalidate philosophical stance assuming that we are by nature selfish, and that 'good' behavior is the result of education and rational choice to follow moral dogma.

    The article mostly say that we are 'wired' to know if we act for ourselves or for others, and that explain why even mouse can feel empathy and factor it to choose behaviors.


    Someone posted a good youtube on community building requiring empathy. Lemme see if I can find...

    Found it

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    Dec 29, 2012 4:55 AM GMT
    Very interesting video.
    Some small scientific inaccuracy/bold extension, but the general ideas are ok.

    Yet it's too narrow : every social animals exhibit form of altruistic behavior, as in benefiting to the community and not to the individual, and it make sens that evolution favor those behavior when species success need the benefit of the group.

    The form of empathy found in humans, apes and similar is just a different, additional way to get the same result.


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    Dec 29, 2012 5:25 AM GMT
    RoccoO saidhmmmm? not so sure.. cause/effect possibly... wouldn't any and all actions-reactions cause neural firing? Perhaps this is merely a locale vs a cause.. either way, of course, it's a great discovery but, it seems a bit rash to decide that it's the egg and not the chicken. More proof is needed to convince me et.al.,I'm sure, that the cells are the cause and not the effect.


    Yes, but as I understand it, it's like having a dedicated organ for altruism, instead of using reasoning.

    Anything about reasoning fall down to neurons firing up, but when you you see a face for example, you don't need to analyse it to determine if you know the person, there is dedicated brain portion who does the job automatically, without any conscious thought.
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    Dec 29, 2012 5:35 AM GMT
    minox saidVery interesting video.
    Some small scientific inaccuracy/bold extension, but the general ideas are ok.

    Yet it's too narrow : every social animals exhibit form of altruistic behavior, as in benefiting to the community and not to the individual, and it make sense that evolution favor those behavior when species success need the benefit of the group.

    The form of empathy found in humans, apes and similar is just a different, additional way to get the same result.




    I sort of took it as implied in the vid that evolution would have favored the behavior and I thought that's why it looks at the "human journey" in how consciousness might have rewired throughout the ages in step with the ever increasing number and complexities of humanity.

    My main contention with the vid is their idea of empathy as opposing utopia/no empathy in heaven because of no mortality thing which I viewed being unnecessary to the author's main point, as I tend to be a bit suspicious of dualism which might make for lovely poetry but beyond that I suspect fails to express the totality of what's really going on here.

    I do enjoy very much the idea not just of empathy in so many creatures but that we seem to be able to express that empathy across species. That not only can humans express empathy for other animals but, as so many pet owners will attest to--even if some argue anthropomorphizing--that other animals so often seem to express empathy for us.
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    Dec 29, 2012 6:27 AM GMT
    minox saidThe main interest here, for me, is that it invalidate philosophical stance assuming that we are by nature selfish, and that 'good' behavior is the result of education and rational choice to follow moral dogma.

    The article mostly say that we are 'wired' to know if we act for ourselves or for others, and that explain why even mouse can feel empathy and factor it to choose behaviors.

    It doesn't invalidate that. It doesn't prove much of anything really, it's just an experiment and all of what you said is extrapolating the data.

    It could be a factor that the monkeys were afraid of denying the others juice. If it was a table of humans and you denied another free cash, you could expect social discomfort or the possibility of them not giving to you when the tables were turned.

    I'm no neurologist but I know that the brain is plastic, and there will always be the possibility that areas of the brain develop this way through repeated positive experiences of giving. Just like areas of the brain develop differently with an abusive childhood.

    Also, as Phoebe teaches us, no good deed is truly selfless. Giving makes you feel like a good person, which is as good as receiving juice if not better.
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    Dec 29, 2012 6:45 AM GMT
    SkinnyBitch said
    minox saidThe main interest here, for me, is that it invalidate philosophical stance assuming that we are by nature selfish, and that 'good' behavior is the result of education and rational choice to follow moral dogma.

    The article mostly say that we are 'wired' to know if we act for ourselves or for others, and that explain why even mouse can feel empathy and factor it to choose behaviors.

    It doesn't invalidate that. It doesn't prove much of anything really, it's just an experiment and all of what you said is extrapolating the data.

    It could be a factor that the monkeys were afraid of denying the others juice. If it was a table of humans and you denied another free cash, you could expect social discomfort or the possibility of them not giving to you when the tables were turned.

    I'm no neurologist but I know that the brain is plastic, and there will always be the possibility that areas of the brain develop this way through repeated positive experiences of giving. Just like areas of the brain develop differently with an abusive childhood.

    Also, as Phoebe teaches us, no good deed is truly selfless. Giving makes you feel like a good person, which is as good as receiving juice if not better.


    I agree, nothing is simple and obvious about the brain.
    But even if I can use my 'superior evolved cortex' to decide to go to a restaurant because I'm hungry, and even if hunger is about some neuron firing some signal, no animal needs conscious thinking to eat when hungry, and stop eating when no longer hungry.

    The fact we can use rational thinking to decide some of our behavior doesn't mean everything we do comes out of rational thinking.

    The article, as I see it, make it likely that there is some build in function generating altruistic behavior, out of evolution selection of brain process good for the species even if they are not good for the individual.

    So it's fun if there is no need for ethical reasoning to feel altruistic impulse.
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    Dec 29, 2012 7:49 AM GMT
    Cool find as always Metta8.

    The article just says the brain cells fire during the act of giving. It doesn't say what those cells firing actually does in the body though. There has to be some biochemical "reinforcer" that makes you want to repeat the action -- like with sex! Actually, that's what they should figure out next! If giving felt like an orgasm, this world would be whole lot better! They should make that happen!

    And to Skinnybitch, I love Friends! Nice reference!

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    Dec 29, 2012 11:53 AM GMT
    Altruism In my youth:

    If all things are true, than why the hell are we fighting and killing each other/selves over them??????? icon_confused.gif

    Now:

    Do as much good directly or indirectly as possible for others, without getting caught! icon_surprised.gif
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    Dec 29, 2012 4:10 PM GMT
    JRaRJ saidAltruism In my youth:

    If all things are true, than why the hell are we fighting and killing each other/selves over them??????? icon_confused.gif

    Now:

    Do as much good directly or indirectly as possible for others, without getting caught! icon_surprised.gif


    That is actually an aspect (the 2nd highest) of tzedakah or Jewish charity

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzedakah
    Maimonides lists his Eight Levels of Giving, as written in the Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot matanot aniyim ("Laws about Giving to Poor People"), Chapter 10:7-14:
    1.Giving an interest-free loan to a person in need; forming a partnership with a person in need; giving a grant to a person in need; finding a job for a person in need; so long as that loan, grant, partnership, or job results in the person no longer living by relying upon others.
    2.Giving tzedakah anonymously to an unknown recipient via a person (or public fund) which is trustworthy, wise, and can perform acts of tzedakah with your money in a most impeccable fashion.
    3.Giving tzedakah anonymously to a known recipient.
    4.Giving tzedakah publicly to an unknown recipient.
    5.Giving tzedakah before being asked.
    6.Giving adequately after being asked.
    7.Giving willingly, but inadequately.
    8.Giving "in sadness" (giving out of pity): It is thought that Maimonides was referring to giving because of the sad feelings one might have in seeing people in need (as opposed to giving because it is a religious obligation). Other translations say "Giving unwillingly."


    As to "why the hell are we fighting and killing each other/selves", it is a good question and I believe answered in the vid I posted. I'm not sure if the OP's article is saying that they've found a physical origin of altruism or simply that they've identified a specific pathway of neurons which become excited when altruism is acted upon--and evolution probably works in both direction anyway, one thing influencing another. Did whales evolve legs that allowed them to come onto shore? Did missing the ocean draw them back and turn their legs to fins? I don't know the mechanism but I've an inkling of how powerful might be consciousness and it certainly seems to manifest into the physical at least in many ways.

    So even if it might be found that altruism is as minox suspects a product of some physicality like the sex drive or our requirements for sustenance, then likely, even as a sex drive unattended can lead to various frustrations and neuroses, just as we witness eating disorders, the vid brings to mind that:

    "If we are truly homo-empathicus, then we need to bring out that core nature. Because if it doesn't come out and it's repressed...the secondary drives come: the narcisism, the materialism, the violence and the aggression."

    hmmm, pretty much the same things that happen when lunch is delayed.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Dec 30, 2012 12:43 AM GMT
    minox saidA biological basis for moral/altruistic behavior outside of any spiritual education.