Are you familiar with the saying “it is better to give than to receive?” Studies have shown that through the simple act of giving individuals may experience pleasure, improved health, and even stronger social ties. In fact, a study conducted in 2006 by neuroscientist Jorge Moll and his fellow colleagues discovered when individuals give to charities, areas of the brain that deal with pleasure and social connections are activated.
To determine if being charitable plays a role in pleasure, a study led by Jorge Moll was conducted at the University of California, Riverdale where participants were asked to perform five acts of kindness for the duration of six weeks. The study found that participants experienced a good amount of pleasure through their charitable acts. In a similar study conducted by Harvard Business school, participants reported experiencing greater amounts of pleasure when donating money as opposed to spending it on themselves. Dr. Jorge Moll believes that when an individual commits a charitable act the brain releases feel good chemicals like dopamine that causes you to experience positive feelings or pleasure.
In addition to playing a role in pleasure, being charitable also can be beneficial to your health. For example, researchers found that individuals who offer others support tend to have lower blood pressure than those who do not (http://releasefact.com/2018/04/jorge-moll-basis-of-human-morality/). This finding suggests a direct physiological benefit to those who commit altruistic or charitable acts!
If you still aren’t convinced, many studies have been conducted by sociology professionals such as Brent Simpson and Robb Willer suggesting that when you give to others, your generosity will likely be reciprocated in the future. Through these social exchanges a sense of trust and cooperation is promoted, resulting in stronger social ties. The neurological benefits of giving have been uncovered by researchers such as Dr. Moll and hopefully through further studies many more will be uncovered!