Altruism is associated with an increased neural response to agency

Dharol Tankersley, C. Jill Stowe, Scott A. Huettel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Although the neural mechanisms underlying altruism remain unknown, empathy and its component abilities, such as the perception of the actions and intentions of others, have been proposed as key contributors. Tasks requiring the perception of agency activate the posterior superior temporal cortex (pSTC), particularly in the right hemisphere. Here, we demonstrate that differential activation of the human pSTC during action perception versus action performance predicts self-reported altruism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-151
Number of pages2
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank E. Douglas for assistance in data collection, S. Green for assistance in manuscript preparation and G. McCarthy, J. Morris, K. Pelphrey, D. Purves and B. Weber for comments on the manuscript. This research was supported by the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH-70685), by the US National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS-41328) and by institutional funds of Duke University.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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