About this Research Topic
Prosocial behaviours (PBs) refer to a broad range of actions intended to benefit one or more people other than oneself. It refers to mutually beneficial behaviours such as helping, comforting, donating, and cooperating. It is often associated with developing desirable traits in children and includes adult behaviours as well.
PB is mediated by both situational and individual factors. The study of individual factors such as empathy and kindness, reciprocity and altruism are important aspect-motivator in increasing others’ well-being through sharing. This “positive concern" for the other individual is characterized by feelings of compassion, which may prevent sharing from turning into personal distress.
PBs increase positive affects and decrease negative feelings and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression through the involvement of brain areas including, but not limited to, the prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, cingulate cortex, inferior parietal cortex, and striatum. Importantly, helping others can produce "well-being" neurotransmitters such as oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin and through which, similar to any other pleasurable activity -the act of volunteering, giving and behaving pro-socially- can become addictive.
This cerebral network reflects positive affect even in the face of the suffering of others. We can better cope with others’ misfortunes by strengthening our own compassion skills.
The present Research Topic aims to bring a collection of research revealing the neurobiology of human prosocial behaviour and wellbeing through original research studies, meta-analyses, and mini reviews. We believe that sharing relevant neuropsychological findings, through a neuro-cognitive approach, can promote a better understanding of the neural basis of PB and its protective factors, with a special attention to data collected during the period of health emergency due to the Covid-19. Indeed, when undergoing high level or persistent stress, individuals frequently tend to show long-lasting adverse effects on brain function and behaviour, emotion, and cognition.
Interdisciplinary research investigating the association between brain areas and prosocial behaviours is highly encouraged by allowing integration of neurobiological and neuropsychological levels of explanation.
Keywords: Prosocial Behaviour, Kindness, Wellbeing, Neuroimaging and Electrophysiological Techniques
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