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Soon, a pill that boosts your compassion

Stashed in: Science!, #kindness, Empathy, Brain, Awesome, Compassion, Medicine, Compassion, empathy, compassion, Mental Health

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Researchers have found that a drug that prolongs the effects of the brain chemical dopamine boosts compassion.

In the study, published in the journal Current Biology, participants on two separate visits received a pill containing either a placebo or tolcapone, a drug that prolongs the effects of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with reward and motivation in the prefrontal cortex.Participants then played a simple economic game in which they divided money between themselves and an anonymous recipient.After receiving tolcapone, participants divided the money with the strangers in a fairer, more egalitarian way than after receiving the placebo.

So can we start slipping this into water coolers or would that be considered unethical? :)

Good idea!

I seriously wonder if there's a downside to adding tolcapone to food, too.

Now I'm really wondering if lack of compassion is actually lack of brain chemical balance.

The drug changes the neurochemical balance in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, causing a greater willingness to engage in prosocial behaviours, such as ensuring that resources are divided more equally.

Future research may lead to a better understanding of the interaction between altered dopamine-brain mechanisms and mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or addiction, and potentially light the way to possible diagnostic tools or treatments for these disorders, researchers said.

It's interesting to consider - and since dopamine levels can be affected by things like diet and lifestyle, I wonder if our lifestyles are making people less compassionate over time? Fascinating stuff!

It makes sense that diet and lifestyle can reduce (or add!) compassion.

All the more reason to eat right and stay active. 

i know some people i'd slip this to...  this is my kind of roofie!

Your kind of roofie is a kindness roofie. 

what would happen if we spiked the water at the presidential debates?

They might not be able to debate at all!

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