Everybody knows that organ donors have big hearts. But a new Georgetown University study shows that people who signed up for a kidney donation have significantly larger amygdalae on the right side of their brains.
Psychologist Abigail Marsh, lead author of the study, thinks that the reason behind is our primitive necessity to read babies’ facial expressions, and natural selection’s goal of keeping the necessity around. “Because we are mammals that give birth to these very helpless young, we’re predisposed to respond to anything that reminds us of a vulnerable, helpless infant,” Marsh told the the LA Times.
The study is a part of the team’s research on extreme altruism. Because live kidney donation is one of the most altruistic acts imaginable, they collected 39 registered kidney donors and, one by one, put them inside an fMRI scanner. Marsh explained “the results of brain scans and behavioral testing suggests that these donors have some structural and functional brain differences that may make them more sensitive, on average, to other people’s distress”.
Find out more about this amazing study here.
Source: Medical DailyImage source: Reuters