Control of selfish behavior turned on, off

October 7, 2006

Selfish, egotistical behavior really is a turn-off, Swiss and U.S. researchers said, triggered by activating a region of the brain.

Researchers studied how activating the area of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex would trigger self-control, researchers from the University of Zurich and Harvard University said Friday in The (London) Telegraph. A weak magnetic field was used to disable this area during the experiment. Researchers said participants gave their permission before undergoing the experiment, the Telegraph said.

Study participants with the right DLPFC suppressed was less able to keep their self-control in check, the Telegraph said, but they still understood the concept of fairness.

Earlier studies had suggested self-control was dependent on the DLPFC, among the last areas of the brain to mature. The latest study, published Friday in "Science," noted this part of the brain is not fully developed in young people, the Telegraph said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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