ISDM faculty uncover how the brain handles mental constructs like motives and empathy

ISDM Faculty Member and Global Distinguished Visiting Professor, Ernst Fehr (University of Zurich), along with scholars from the University of Zurich, University of Bern, and Pusan National University in South Korea, conducted research on the human brain’s functional network architecture and how mental constructs like motives can be observed in a neurobiological setting. Their resulting paper, “The brain’s functional network architecture reveals human motives,” published on March 10, 2016, focuses on the premise of goal-directed human behaviors being driven by motives. Their research shows that the brain’s functional network architecture captures information that predicts different motives behind the same altruistic act with high accuracy. They discovered that people with different predispositions, for example a selfish person versus a very altruistic person, have different functional brain architectures, and that those selfish individuals can only increase their altruistic behavior through experiencing empathy. The full paper is available for free download here.

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