Credits to biological mechanism that keep humans united Ever wondered why we often help others even without expecting anything in return? That could be thanks to simple biological mechanisms that have evolved to keep a group of individuals cohesive, says a new study.
“We would not hesitate about helping an older person trying to cross the road.
This type of actions is called pro-social behaviour,” said researcher Cristina Marquez from Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Lisbon, Portugal.
The researchers studied rats’ behaviour to observe pro-social decisions under laboratory conditions.
“In our experiment, we assigned a pair of rats different roles. One was the Helper and the other was the Partner.
The Helper was free to make one of two choices.”
“The selfish choice: Opening a door where a food reward was given only to itself. Or a pro-social choice: Opening another door, where both rats received a food reward,” Marquez said.
The researchers found that the majority of rats favoured pro-social choices.
“Pro-sociality is beneficial in many situations, for both humans and rats.
Simple biological mechanisms such as a positive feeling when a group member receives a reward, or being sensitive to attempts of others to achieve a goal, may benefit the individual,” said study leader Marta Moita.
“Humans are extremely social and we are also extremely confabulatory .
So it is possible that the stories we construct about the motives to our social actions could also be explained by biological mechanisms to keep a group of individuals cohesive ,” Moita said.