From the Economist … “Providing for relatives comes more naturally than reaching out to strangers. Nevertheless, it may be worth being kind to people outside the family as the favour might be reciprocated in future. But when it comes to anonymous benevolence, directed to causes that, unlike people, can give nothing in return, what could motivate a donor? The answer, according to neuroscience, is that it feels good.”

And it concludes with “They found that the part of the brain that was active when a person donated happened to be the brain’s reward center, the “mesolimbic pathway” that is responsible for doling out the dopamine-mediated euphoria associated with sex, money, food and drugs. Thus the warm glow that accompanies charitable giving has a physiological basis. The study showed that there is even more to altruism. Donating also engaged the part of the brain that plays a role in the bonding behavior between a mother and child and in romantic love. This involves oxytocin, a hormone that increases trust and cooperation. “