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  1. Nature or Nurture !

    Women are kinder and more generous than men, study finds. The battle of the sexes has returned with resurgent force as new research reveals that women are prone to be kinder and more generous than men. Male and female brains react differently to “prosocial” (selfless) and selfish behaviour, scientists at the University of Zurich found. When a woman exhibits some form of kindness, it triggers a greater reward signal than it does in men, whose reward system is stimulated more by selfish behaviour. The brain’s reward system, known as the stratium, administers dopamine when triggered and therefore influences what motivates us to do certain things on the basis that they will make us feel good. Essentially, this means that women are most incentivised by kindness whereas men are mostly incentivised by self-serving thoughts. Researchers conducted a series of behavioural experiments on 56 men and women which probed participants to make “prosocial” decisions, many of them revolving around the basis of sharing money. Neuroscientists then analysed which areas of the brain were activated and found vast discrepancies between what stimulates the stratium in men and women. In a further experiment, scientists administered medication to participants that prevented the release of dopamine and subsequently rendered the stratium dormant. Interestingly, on this occasion the women behaved more selfishly whereas men exhibited more “prosocial” traits such as generosity and helpfulness. This surprised lead author Alexander Soutschek. “These results demonstrate that the brains of women and men also process generosity differently at the pharmacological level.” However, he noted that further studies would be necessary in order to “take into account gender differences more seriously.” He also added that while these discrepancies are apparent at a biological level, they are not necessarily inherent and could be derived from various social and environmental factors. “The reward and learning systems in our brains work in close cooperation,” Soutschek said. “Empirical studies show that girls are rewarded with praise for 'prosocial' behaviour, implying that their reward systems learn to expect a reward for helping behaviour instead of selfish behaviour. “With this in mind, the gender differences that we observed in our studies could best be attributed to the different cultural expectations placed on men and women.” Don’t worry guys, women can be selfish too. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/women-kinder-more-generous-men-study-behavioral-experiments-university-of-zurich-a7991961.html