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Studying altruism through virtual reality

A computer-based environment has been developed with the aim to shed light on the origins of altruism. This new study immersed participants in a virtual environment that reproduced a building on fire which they had to evacuate in a hurry, deciding whether to save their lives or interrupt their escape and help rescue an injured person. The results showed that altruistic individuals self-reported to have greater concern for others’ wellbeing and had larger right anterior insula (a brain area involved in processing social emotions) compared to non-altruists.

(via WSJ)