Why are some people so giving?

Why do some people do selfless things, helping other people even at risk to their own well-being? Psychology researcher Abigail Marsh studies the motivations of people who do extremely altruistic acts, like donating a kidney to a complete stranger. Are their brains just different?

 

We would like to welcome Abigail Marsh to our Donor to Donor Advisory Board.

 

Abigail Marsh - Photo by Kuna Malik Hamad.

Abigail Marsh - Photo by Kuna Malik Hamad.

About Abigail Marsh - excerpt from AbigailMarsh.com

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program at Georgetown University. I received my PhD in Social Psychology from Harvard University in 2004 and afterward conducted post-doctoral research at the National Institute of Mental Health until 2008.

I direct the Laboratory on Social & Affective Neuroscience, research in which is aimed at addressing questions that include: How do people understand what others think and feel? What drives us to help other people? What prevents us from harming them? We tackle these questions using multiple approaches that include functional and structural brain imaging in adolescents and adults from both typical and special populations, as well as behavioral, cognitive, genetic, and pharmacological methods. Current research projects include behavioral and brain imaging investigations of altruism among living altruistic kidney donors and stem cell donors, and behavioral and brain imaging investigations of the roots of conduct problems in children and adolescents.

My research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the John Templeton Foundation and has received awards that include the Wyatt Memorial Award for translational research from the National Institute of Mental Health and the Cozzarelli Prize for scientific excellence and originality from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Abigail Marsh Twitter.jpg
Different Brains

My book The Fear Factor will be published October 10th (Basic/Hachette).

The book explores the extremes of human nature–from extraordinary altruism to psychopathy–and what processes in the brain drive extraordinarily good and extraordinarily bad behaviors alike.

Pre-order now on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Advance praise for The Fear Factor:

“A brilliant, beautiful, and important book about the things that make some of us angels, some of us devils, and all of us human. You won’t be able to put it down.” — DANIEL GILBERT, New York Times bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness

“Let Abigail Marsh guide you on a riveting ride through your own brain. With lively writing and an impressive command of science, she shows how sensitivity to fear can be both a weapon of evil and a force for good.” — ADAM GRANT, New York Times bestselling author of Originals, Give and Take, and Option B (with Sheryl Sandberg)

 

To learn more about Abigail Marsh's studies & programs, please visit her website: 

AbigailMarsh.com