Reading about how a certain part of the brain is more active in those who are altruistic sparked off a range of responses and ideas….but Nick Booth over at Podnosh has covered this much better than I could, going into the research a little more, and extrapolating outwards what this might mean for non-profit use of technology:
"…Flip it the other way and you make the case that those with the most
sophisticated understanding of social situations are more likely to do
things for others because it is most likely to make sense to them. They
have mental tools better attuned for empathy, for relating to others,
for calculating knock on consequencs of acts of generosity. So what is
my point re the social web?
These are the people with
the most sophisticted and complex (dare I say evolved?) ways to
understand and act in the social world. These are also the people which
you should find in a greater proportion in charities and non-profit
organisations. Yes you’ve guessed it: these are the folk who should
find it easiest to grasp the social web."
Interesting stuff: do those who work in this sector have a heightened sense of empathy, which leads them to be involved in this world? Is this more complex/’better’ than others, or just a particular area of strength? Is there an altruistic brain spectrum along which we could plot people we know and work with and support? Certainly the connection between "seeing other people’s actions as meaningful" and "being altruistic" is an interesting one which other researchers could pursue and drill down on.
What would neurologists make of social entrepreneurs I wonder? Maybe we should stop with the refined interview process focusing on traits and characteristics and just get a MRI brain scan to see what potential lies in store…….or maybe not….