Navigation Links
Serotonin Levels Determine Sense of Fairness
Date:6/5/2008

Less of brain chemical makes people more likely to reject unfair offer, study shows

THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of a brain chemical known as serotonin govern the way people react to unfair offers when they play the game of life, a new study indicates.

Serotonin, which carries messages between neurons, is involved in emotional control. One recent study found that the expression of anger in women was affected by variations in a gene governing the receptors for serotonin in brain cells.

The new study, reported in the June 5 issue of Science, had people play what is called the Ultimate Game, which is being used widely in psychological and neurological studies. The game has one player proposing a way to split a pot of money. If the offer is accepted by the other player, both get paid. If it is refused, neither gets a payment.

The researchers had some players make deliberately unfair offers: "I get 80 percent, you get 20 percent." They found that players given a chemical that lowered serotonin levels were more likely to reject an unfair offer.

Serotonin levels have that effect, because the chemical is involved in the activity of the prefrontal region of the brain, explained study author Molly J. Crockett, a doctoral student at the University of Cambridge in England.

"One recent study on the Ultimate Game showed that when an unfair offer is accepted, you see activity in the prefrontal cortex," Crockett said. "Down-rating the emotional response makes it more unlikely that an unfair offer will be accepted."

In other words, lower serotonin levels also meant a higher level of resentment, so that an offer that wasn't as good as it might be would be turned down. Conversely, higher serotonin levels would make it easier to live in an imperfect world.

It's hard to apply that knowledge directly, Crockett said.

"What we did was have people fast overnight," she said. "On some days of the study, they took either a pill with all amino acids or a placebo. On the experiment day, they took a pill with all the amino acids but tryptophan. Over the course of several hours, that would have been converted to serotonin."

Knowledge about the role of serotonin in the emotions already is being put to use, sometimes legally and sometimes not, said research team member Matthew D. Lieberman, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Prescription medications such as antidepressants are known to affect serotonin levels, and the same is true of MDMA, the psychedelic drug whose street name is Ecstasy, Lieberman said. It is, he said, "a quick serotonin enhancer."

One everyday implication of the study is that brain chemistry "is going to affect how we judge other people and are treated by other people," Lieberman said.

A proposed experiment would have people play the Ultimate Game inside a magnetic resonance imaging machine that would produce images of brain activity, Lieberman said. "We could see, as we change serotonin levels, how the brain responds in an imaging study to fair and unfair offers," he said.

More information

Learn how antidepressant drugs act on serotonin from the Mayo Clinic.



SOURCES: Molly J. Crockett, doctoral student, University of Cambridge, England; Matthew D. Lieberman, Ph.D., associate professor, psychology, University of California, Los Angeles; June 5, 2008, Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Migraine Medications May Cause Serotonin Syndrome
2. Mother-daughter conflict, low serotonin level may be deadly combination
3. Highest ever levels of post-traumatic stress found in Uganda
4. Celebrex May Reduce Levels of Lung Cancer Biomarker
5. Current vitamin D recommendations fraction of safe, perhaps essential levels for children
6. Many men with low testosterone levels do not receive treatment
7. Blood cholesterol levels predict risk of heart disease due to hormone therapy
8. Low Levels of Vitamin D Spell Trouble for Breast Cancer Patients
9. TruFUSE(R) Minimally Invasive Facet Fusion Procedure Tops 3,000 Spinal Levels
10. Scan Detects Oxygen Levels in Tumors
11. Cancer survivors have low levels of physical activity and high levels of obesity
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/5/2016)... York, New York (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... life? The answer may be at the tips of your toes. Foot massage, whether ... as well as pure comfort and relaxation. The American Board of Multiple Specialties ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... franchises from across the country gathered at the La Valencia Hotel in San ... PROSHRED Chicago was named the year’s most outstanding franchise, walking away with ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Pivot Point Consulting, a leading national ... & Services for HIT Implementation Support & Staffing report with an outstanding score ... by healthcare executives, managers and clinicians representing over 4,500 hospitals and 2,500 clinics. ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... Colorize ... from on one drop zone to the next using Colorize's dynamic moving camera. Colorize ... project. This package includes a 3D slideshow environment with 1 to 5 focus points ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Calls Blacklist has just been updated by mobile app ... the developer has fixed known bugs within the app. Calls Blacklist allows its users ... not consuming any of their device’s battery power or memory. It provides a powerful ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... Feb. 4, 2016  SciClone Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... has entered into a settlement agreement with the ... resolving the SEC,s investigation into possible violations of ... terms of the settlement agreement, SciClone has agreed ... disgorgement, pre-judgment interest and a penalty.  This payment ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... -- Global Immunology Market to 2022 - Large ... growth Summary Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases are ... affect 5–7% of western populations. Although they are ... key patient demographics, they are pathophysiologically linked, being ... inappropriate immune response. Generally, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, a ...
(Date:2/4/2016)...  Aethlon Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: AEMD ), ... treat life-threatening diseases, today announced results for the ... 2015. --> --> ... our last quarterly call, we strategically advanced pre-clinical ... to establish the Aethlon Hemopurifier® as a leading ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: