A few weeks ago, following ABC’s Primetime Basic Instincts special, I posted an article related to our inherent nature for ‘good deeds,’ or reciprocal altruism.

Rooted in our own evolutionary psychology, this concept can be related to game theory (which was featured last week on the same program) and the prisoner’s dilemma model. In this scenario a person will cooperate with another based on the other persons last action.

Today researchers from The Duke University Medical Center announced they have found one of the principle regions of the brain which predicts the propensity for a person to exhibit altruism or selfishness.

Altruism – the tendency to help others without obvious benefit to oneself – appears to be linked to an area called the posterior superior temporal sulcus.

News such as this is surely to raise some questions as to whether our actions are governed more by nature than nurture; the subject of debate which extends into our political and social lives. It is important to remember however that our innate qualities are in constant interaction and adaptation with the environment around us, forcing a constant evolution between our genes and culture.

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