Science Confirms What We Always Knew: Women Are More Selfless Than Men

Research indicates the female brain is hardwired to reward kindness, more so than their male counterparts.

There is immense power in being a woman – this we already know. From simply navigating the challenges that come with societal expectations and pressures, and still rising above them all to live our most authentic life, ours is an existence that sees us utilise every waking hour to ensure we aren’t just doing all we can to achieve our goals, but are supporting those around us, too. We actively make time to check in on our friends, console our children, give advice to a work colleague, and support a family member. Not surprisingly, it can be hard to claw back any time in the day to make ourselves a priority. 

If this sounds like you, it turns out you’re not alone. According to a 2017 study conducted by the University of Zurich, female brains are hardwired to reward kindness. It’s particularly remarkable as the study discovered that men’s brains are more likely to reward selfish behaviour which could explain a lot of the pitfalls of dating when it comes to the opposite sex. 

The study, conducted on a group of 56 men and women, comprised of a series of behavioural experiments centred around whether or not to share money. These experiments were designed so as to explore which areas of the brain activate after “proposal” decisions – otherwise known as those considered unselfish – compared to when objectively selfish decisions are made. 

According to the research, it was discovered that women’s brains were more likely to release dopamine when they made an unselfish decision, whereas men were found to be more likely to release the same feel-good chemical when they made a selfish decision and kept the money to themselves. 

As lead researcher Alexander Soutschek explains, the results “demonstrate that the brains of women and men also process generosity differently at the pharmacological level” and that greater attention needs to be paid to gender differences. As Soutschek went on to add, the study raises questions as to whether these differences are actually biological or simply a reflection of cultural attitudes towards gendered roles and ideals. “The reward and learning systems in our brains work in close cooperation,” he adds. 

“Empirical studies show that girls are rewarded with praise for prosocial behaviour, implying that their reward systems learn to expect a reward for helping behaviour instead of selfish behaviour. With this in mind, the gender differences that we observed in our studies could best be attributed to the different cultural expectations placed on men and women.”

While we’ve always known that women are incredibly selfless, going out of their way to help others, the study does raise interesting points and might just explain why the men in your life present such different attitudes when faced with the same circumstances. 

Source @womenshealth.com.au: Read more at : womenalive.org

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