The results show that the brain’s reward center responds to unequal situations involving money in a way that indicates people prefer a level playing field, and may suggest why we care about the circumstances of others in the first place.
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“Our study shows that the brain doesn’t just reflect self-interested goals, but instead, these basic reward processing regions of the brain seem to be affected by social information,” said study author Elizabeth Tricomi, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey. “That might explain why what happens to other people seems to matter so much to us, even when it might not actually directly affect our own situation.”
Social science research indicates that humans are attuned to inequality, and we just don’t like it. For instance, people donate to charity to help those not as fortunate as them, and societies provide welfare.
Despite this behavioral evidence, few studies have looked at the brain regions involved in the “it’s not fair” phenomenon. . . .