Why Are We Not More Selfish? What the Study of Brain and Behavior Can Tell Us
Even though it might not always seem to make sense from the perspective of personal gain, people often show a tendency towards cooperation. Why this might occur is a question that has long been a topic of fascination in researchers from many different fields. As societies often do better when their citizens cooperate with each other, an answer to this question not only gives us insight into ourselves, but also creates opportunities for improving our society. In this article, we discuss behavioural and brain imaging research which suggests that there may be several different motivations as to why we tend to cooperate instead of behaving selfishly. A tiny hint: wanting to feel good, avoid punishment, and live up to others’ expectations have a lot to do with it!