“Adam Smith contended that moral sentiments like egalitarianism derived from a ‘fellow-feeling’ that would increase with our level of sympathy for others, predicting not merely aversion to inequity, but also our propensity to engage in egalitarian behaviors,” the researchers wrote. Via ScienceDaily:
The part of the brain we use when engaging in egalitarian behavior may also be linked to a larger sense of morality, researchers have found. Their conclusions, which offer scientific support for Adam Smith’s theories of morality, are based on experimental research published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study, coming seven months after the start of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, which has been aimed at addressing income inequality, was conducted by researchers from: New York University’s Wilf Family Department of Politics; the University of Toronto; the University of California, San Diego; the University of California, Davis; and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Previous scholarship has established that two areas of the brain are active when we behave in an egalitarian manner — the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the insular cortex, which are two neurological regions previously shown to be related to social preferences such as altruism, reciprocity, fairness, and aversion to inequality. Less clear, however, is how these parts of the brain may also be connected to egalitarian behavior in a group setting…
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