People who show concern for others and their well-being ‘experience less pain’
People who show concern for others and their well-being “experience less pain” than people who are not so selfless, find a new study
- Researchers studied more than 280 brains and found a link between altruism and pain
- They discovered that even cancer patients who practiced altruism felt less pain
- The Chinese team says that since prehistoric times, altruism has been valued by humanity
People who show concern for others and who are interested in their well-being experience less pain than people who are not so nice, researchers claim.
Scientists from the University of Beijing in China have scanned the brains of more than 280 people as part of two studies on altruistic behavior and pain levels.
They discovered that the part of the brain that is associated with reduced pain levels is also related to selfless behavior.
Experts have thought about why people would help others if there had been no clear benefit to them for centuries, said lead researcher Yilu Wang.
The Beijing team discovered that in physically threatening situations, altruistic action can relieve painful feelings on the part of the caregiver.
People who show concern for others and who are interested in their well-being experience less pain than people who are not so nice, researchers claim. Stock image
“We are investigating how altruistic behavior can affect the immediate sensation of the performer in unpleasant situations,” Dr. said. Wang of the University of Beijing.
“We find consistent behavioral and neural evidence that altruistic action in physically threatening situations can alleviate painful feelings in human artists.”
The researchers say that altruistic behavior “has been cherished in human society since prehistoric times,” and thus wanted to know what advantage people could gain that acted selflessly compared to more selfish ones.
“It enables group members to collectively survive various crises, such as food shortages and natural disasters,” they wrote in the research paper.
‘Conducting altruistic behavior is, however, expensive for the artists themselves; it is about giving away one’s own resources and therefore reduces the fitness of the performer compared to selfish others.
The findings will help to better understand the processes behind human social behavior and pain management, the team claims.
The study found that altruistic action relieved not only acutely induced physical pain in healthy adults, but also chronic pain in cancer patients.
Using functional MRI scans, they discovered that when someone performed an altruistic action, the pain areas of the brain were reduced during a painful shock compared to when someone did not perform an altruistic action.
“Our findings suggest that creating personal costs to help others can buffer the artists from unpleasant circumstances,” Dr. said. Cheek.
The team says that empirical evidence shows that human altruistic tendencies are reinforced in times of crisis, such as immediately after a strong earthquake.
The researchers say that altruistic behavior “has been cherished in human society since prehistoric times,” and thus wanted to know what advantage people could gain that acted selflessly compared to more selfish ones. Stock image
“The prevalence of altruism under life-threatening circumstances raises an important but poorly understood question: what happens within the individual when he or she helps,” said Dr. Wang.
Most physically threatening situations are associated with actual or potential tissue damage, which is often associated with the experience of pain, the researchers say.
‘Although giving time, money or social support involves tangible loss, it also leads to immaterial benefits for the artists, such as improved positive affect, increased self-esteem and less depression.
“Moreover, people relate altruistic acts to the experience of meaning in life, that is, seeing one’s life and existence as value, purpose and direction.”
They said that instead of considering altruistic behavior as the cause of unavoidable loss that must be caused to improve the well-being of others, their results suggest that altruistic action can stimulate experiences.
“It can help them neutralize unpleasant experiences (such as relieving physical pain) in adverse situations.”
The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
WHAT IS SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE?
Social intelligence is the ability to manage complex social situations through empathy and the ability to know oneself and others.
It includes features such as taking into account the perspectives of others, being adaptable, managing impressions of oneself and complying with established social norms.
Social intelligence defines our ability to engage in complex socialization, including politics, romance, family relationships, arguments, cooperation, and altruism.
While “traditional” intelligence is the ability to acquire knowledge and skills, and is largely determined at birth, experts say that social intelligence is a mostly learned skill built up through experience.