Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Serotonin may affect our sense of fairness

10.06.2008
The neurotransmitter serotonin, which acts as a chemical messenger between nerve cells, plays a critical role in regulating emotions such as aggression during social decision-making, new research by scientists at England's University of Cambridge and UCLA suggests. Their findings appear June 6 in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

Serotonin has long been associated with social behavior, and low levels of serotonin are associated with depression and anxiety, but its precise involvement in impulsive aggression has been controversial. Though many scientists have hypothesized a link between serotonin and impulsivity, this is one of the first studies to show a causal link between the two.

The findings highlight why some of us may become combative or aggressive when we have not eaten. The essential amino acid necessary for the body to create serotonin can only be obtained through diet; our serotonin levels naturally decline when we don't eat.

The research also provides insight into clinical disorders characterized by low serotonin levels, such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and may help explain some of the social difficulties associated with these disorders.

... more about:
»Health »Serotonin »disorder

UCLA scientists reported in April that the human brain responds to being treated fairly the same way it responds to winning money and eating chocolate; being treated fairly turns on the brain's reward circuitry. In the new Science study, they and their Cambridge colleagues report that people with low serotonin levels were found to be more sensitive to being treated unfairly.

The Science study involved 20 subjects, 14 of them female, with an average age of 25. As in the April study, published in the journal Psychological Science, participants were presented with fair and insulting offers for dividing sums of money. If they declined, neither they nor the person making the offer would receive anything. Some of the offers were fair, such as receiving 5 Brisith pounds out of 10 or out of 12, while others were unfair, such as receiving 5 pounds out of 23.

In this study, however, after initially responding to the offers, participants were given a drink that significantly reduced their serotonin levels. They were then presented with the offers again.

When their serotonin levels were reduced, they rejected 82 percent of the unfair offers; when their serotonin levels were normal, they rejected only 67 percent of the unfair offers. Thus, people with low serotonin levels were more likely to reject unfair offers.

"The same person may experience the same thing as fair and unfair on different days based on how the neurochemistry of the brain is functioning," said study co-author Matthew D. Lieberman, UCLA associate professor of psychology and a founder of social cognitive neuroscience. "When we feel something is unfair, that may have to do with how our brain causes us to experience the world. Our subjects are not aware their serotonin levels are affecting the way they experience the world. This suggests we should be more forgiving of other people's perspectives."

"A sense of fair play is not a purely rational process," he added. "It seems not to be the case that, like a math formula, if something is fair, it's fair for all time, in all situations."

Stuart Wolpert | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucla.edu

Further reports about: Health Serotonin disorder

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The secret sulfate code that lets the bad Tau in
16.07.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

nachricht Colorectal cancer risk factors decrypted
16.07.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

New players, standardization and digitalization for more rail freight transport

16.07.2018 | Transportation and Logistics

Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide

16.07.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>