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The Root of All Evil?

Is money the root of all evil? Not necessarily: paying your taxes?then giving the rest of your money (if there's any left) to charity?can give you the same kind of satisfaction you get from eating when you?re hungry. And in a study, men with high testosterone levels rejected offers of free money.

A psychologist and two economists gave 19 women participants $100 and then did MRI scans of their brains as they watched their money go to the food bank through mandatory taxation, and as they made choices about whether to give more money voluntarily or keep it for themselves. The brain regions that trigger a feeling of fullness and satisfaction fired when the subjects saw the charity get their money. The activation was even larger when people gave the money voluntarily, instead of just paying it as taxes.

Psychologist Ulrich Mayr says, "It reinforces the idea that there is true altruism?where it's all about how well the common good is doing. I've heard people claim that they don't mind paying taxes, if it's for a good cause?and here we showed that you can actually see this going on inside the brain, and even measure it."

In another study, 26 men were given saliva tests to determine their testosterone level. They were then offered $5 out of a possible $40. They could either take the money (and leave $35 for the person who was giving it out), or refuse, which meant that neither of them got anything. 20 of the men took the money, but the 6 men with higher testosterone levels rejected it.

In LiveScience.com, Charles Q. Choi quotes researcher Terence Burnham as saying, "It's strange but it's true?people at times walk away from free money."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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