The aim of the present study was to examine the neural signatures of gaining money for self and charity. Young adults (N = 31, 21–24 years of age) underwent fMRI scanning while they performed a task in which they could earn money for themselves and for a self-chosen charity by selecting one of two options with unknown outcomes. The results showed elevated activity in the ventral striatum when gaining for the self only and for self and charity, but not when gaining for charity only. However, increased ventral striatal activity when gaining for charity only was correlated with participants’ self-reported empathic concern and enjoyment when winning for charity. Empathic concern was also related to donating a larger proportion of earnings to charity after the MRI session. In short, these results reveal robust ventral striatal activity when gaining for oneself, but empathydependent individual differences in ventral striatal activity when gaining for charity

Charity donations . Vicarious gaining . Empathy,
Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience

Spaans, J.P., Peters, S.T, & Crone, E.A. (2018). Neural reward-related reactions to monetary gains for self and charity. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 19(4), 845–858. doi:10.3758/s13415-018-00672-1