Sociable people have more brain tissue in the same regions that allow us to enjoy chocolate and sex, report Cambridge University scientists in the European Journal of Neuroscience, suggesting people may get similar feelings of pleasure from being sociable. In the study, brain scans were carried out on 41 healthy male volunteers. Those who scored higher on questionnaires rating sociability had more grey matter in two brain areas: the orbitofrontal cortex (which is activated by attractive faces and smiling) and the ventral striatum (which is activated by receiving compliments). Whether the men were born with these differences or developed them is unknown. “It’s interesting that the degree to which we find social interaction rewarding relates to the structure of our brains in regions that are important for very simple biological drives such as food, sweet liquids and sex,² lead researcher Dr Graham Murray said. “Perhaps this gives us a clue to how complex features like sentimentality and affection evolved from structures that in lower animals originally were only important for basic biological survival processes.” This work could lead to new insights into psychiatric problems that feature difficulties with social interaction, like autism or schizophrenia, the BBC reports.
Brain region determines how nice you are
Researchers find part of the brain linked to sociability