Among men and women, who is more generous? The answer may be traced from biochemical materials in the brain that will affect gender behavior.
In a study published in Nature Human Behavior on Monday (09/10/2017), Alexander Soutschek and colleagues from the University of Zurich tried to answer the question.
They used 55 participants, 27 women and 28 men, who were divided into two groups at random. To explain how generous a person is, Soutschek uses a dopamine inhibitor called amisulpride or a placebo drug.
Dopamine itself is a neurotransmitter that performs many different tasks in the brain, one of which communicates pleasure and rewards. If you feel happy when you get a certain compliment or achievement, some of it is mediated by dopamine.
Initially, the participants were given a choice: get a number of Swiss francs or small gifts that were shared with a friend, even a foreigner. Secondly, as a control question, they were offered a small present at the time or a big reward if they would wait the next 90 days.
Once evaluated, the pills given to the participants were subsequently exchanged and they were reexamined.
When given a placebo, it turns out 51percent women choose to share, while men who do similar things by 40 percent.
With amisulpride, the percentage of women who chose to share fell to 45 percent, while men became more social, with 44 percent choosing to share.
To further corroborate the findings, the researchers then conducted a second study looking at brain recording data from 40 men and women when deciding to divide their money.
The researchers again found that when deciding to share, activity in the part of the brain that operates using dopamine is more active in women than men.
Based on these two results, the researchers then concluded that the dopamine-based reward system for the brain leads to female sharing behavior and more selfish behavior in men.
However, further reasons, such as whether this behavior is due to chromosomal differences or due to social conditioning, can not yet be concluded.
The small size of the sample also becomes an obstacle to getting more information.
Cognitive neuroscientist Gina Rippon from Aston University told Nicola Davis in The Guardian, data were collected from two different groups of participants with slightly different tasks. This gives space for research error.
However, the Soutschek experiment is useful for studying the neurochemistry behind antisocial or proactive behavior. That way, the understanding between genetic interaction, culture, and anatomy can get better.