Monday, September 2, 2013

Serve: How selfishness is punished and heroism rewarded

Continuing with this month's Serve theme, here are two stories I originally included in Overnight News Digest on Daily Kos about selfishness and heroism.

First, Laci Green of Discovery News explains how Evolution Punishes the Selfish.

You'd think being selfish would help a species survive... but you'd be wrong! Turns out not only is it important to be generous, our species' survival depends on it! Laci explains why.
The rich and powerful should take note.  Selfishness does not pay.

In contrast, Sid Perkins of Science News asked and answered an important question in BOOK REVIEW: What Makes a Hero? The Surprising Science of Selflessness by Elizabeth Svoboda.
Stories of heroes are all over the news: First responders and even concerned passersby put themselves in harm’s way to help others, going against every instinct for self-preservation. What could explain such selfless acts? Even Charles Darwin struggled to understand the evolutionary upside of self-sacrifice.

Svoboda, a science writer, takes an in-depth look at some of the scientists who study altruism and what they are finding. Brain scans (including one of Svoboda) reveal that people who envision themselves giving to charity show neurological responses similar to the effects of taking an addictive drug. It’s ironic, Svoboda writes, that acts of selflessness can stem from such self-centered motivations.
So, will you serve and be someones hero this month?

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