Navigation Links
Brain reacts to fairness as it does to money and chocolate

The human brain responds to being treated fairly the same way it responds to winning money and eating chocolate, UCLA scientists report. Being treated fairly turns on the brain's reward circuitry.

"We may be hard-wired to treat fairness as a reward," said study co-author Matthew D. Lieberman, UCLA associate professor of psychology and a founder of social cognitive neuroscience.

"Receiving a fair offer activates the same brain circuitry as when we eat craved food, win money or see a beautiful face," said Golnaz Tabibnia, a postdoctoral scholar at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and lead author of the study, which appears in the April issue of the journal Psychological Science.

The activated brain regions include the ventral striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Humans share the ventral striatum with rats, mice and monkeys, Tabibnia said.

"Fairness is activating the same part of the brain that responds to food in rats," she said. This is consistent with the notion that being treated fairly satisfies a basic need, she added.

In the study, subjects were asked whether they would accept or decline another person's offer to divide money in a particular way. If they declined, neither they nor the person making the offer would receive anything. Some of the offers were fair, such as receiving $5 out of $10 or $12, while others were unfair, such as receiving $5 out of $23.

"In both cases, they were being offered the same amount of money, but in one case it's fair and in the other case it's not," Tabibnia said.

Almost half the time, people agreed to accept offers of just 20 to 30 percent of the total money, but when they accepted these unfair offers, most of the brain's reward circuitry was not activated; those brain regions were activated only for the fair offers. Less than 2 percent accepted offers of 10 percent of the total money.

The study group consisted of 12 UCLA students, nine of them female, with an average age of 21. They had their brains scanned at UCLA's AhmansonLovelace Brain Mapping Center. The subjects saw photographs of various people who were said to be making the offers.

"The brain's reward regions were more active when people were given a $5 offer out of $10 than when they received a $5 offer out of $23," Lieberman said. "We call this finding the 'sunny side of fairness' because it shows the rewarding experience of being treated fairly."

A region of the brain called the insula, associated with disgust, is more active when people are given insulting offers, Lieberman said.

When people accepted the insulting offers, they tended to turn on a region of the prefrontal cortex that is associated with emotion regulation, while the insula was less active.

"We're showing what happens in the brain when people swallow their pride," Tabibnia said. "The region of the brain most associated with self-control gets activated and the disgust-related region shows less of a response."

"If we can regulate our sense of insult, we can say yes to the insulting offer and accept the cash," Lieberman said. UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 37,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 300 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.


Contact: Stuart Wolpert
University of California - Los Angeles

Related medicine news :

1. Draining away brains toxic protein to stop Alzheimers
2. Vision restoration therapy shown to improve brain activity in brain injured patients
3. Clinical depression linked to abnormal emotional brain circuits
4. Brain imaging reveals breakdown of normal emotional processing
5. Brain cells work differently than previously thought
6. Vaccine Stops Alzheimers Brain Tangles
7. Research may unlock mystery of autisms origin in the brain
8. Scientists Spot Brains Free Will Center
9. Free will takes flight: how our brains respond to an approaching menace
10. Alcoholics With Cirrhosis Have More Brain Damage
11. Brain Lesions Predict MS Progression
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... will provide scholarships for people struggling with eating disorders as a result of ... the second annual event, held at Fox Run Golf Club in Eureka, will ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Privately owned Contract Development and ... of its current state of the art research, development and manufacturing facility outside ... its manufacturing capacity as well as to support its clients’ growing research and ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... Complex (TSC), as well as raising public awareness of the disorder while helping ... a third donation of $35,000 to bolster progress at the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... treatment, is offering lower prices in an early celebration of the early holiday ... promotional price of $29.95 each (normally $33.95 ea). Black Friday promotional pricing is ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Dr. Todd S. Afferica, a noted ... to many of his patients. Dr. Afferica now uses the BIOLASE WaterLase iPlus 2.0™ ... of time the doctor uses other traditional cutting tools, such as the scalpel and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 25, 2015 Allergan plc ... an agreement with the New York State ... 2 of the Sherman Act, and other statutes with the ... in February 2014, to cease marketing and selling the now ... of settlement, Allergan admits no liability, has released its counterclaims ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ), a ... start-up  biotechnology company focused on the development of ... by the F-Prime Biomedical Research Initiative (FBRI), today ... collaboration to support the discovery and development of ... Obsessive Compulsive disorders (OCD). ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... NEW YORK , November 25, 2015 ... global market of self-monitoring blood glucose devices was valued ... to grow with a CAGR of 5.7% during 2015 ... increasing geriatric population and increasing prevalence of diabetes. In ... about diabetes care is also contributing to the growth ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: