Revenge on the Brain

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.  Can science help?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Your brain has specialized regions to handle various tasks. For example, your hippocampus is involved in memory processing.  But how does the brain handle situations of personal injustice?

To find out, Olga Klimecki from the University of Geneva created a game. She calls it “The Inequality Game.” One player engages in financial transactions with two other people.

The other players are secretly scripted, one to act friendly and the other selfish. The researchers then measure the brain activity of the central player as he interacts with each of the others..  So what happens when we feel unfairly treated? Isn’t a little healthy REVENGE in order?

Researchers found a part of the brain that lights up when feeling anger. But, that’s not all! This area lights up MORE when the angry person decides NOT to retaliate.

Scientists believe the reverse could be true too! In other words, maybe that region of the brain could be stimulated magnetically, to help us deal with depression and other emotional conditions.

Because, some days, willpower ain’t gonna cut it!