The neural correlates of reasoning about prosocial-helping decisions: an event-related brain potentials study.
ABSTRACT Providing help to others is a highly valued social practice. This study used neurophysiological methods to explore the neural correlates of individuals' reasoning about prosocial-helping behaviors and the relation between these correlates and self-reports of prosocial personality. Event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded while individuals reasoned about others' decisions to provide help or not provide help in situations where help was either obviously needed or not necessarily needed. Specific examination of the relation between self-reports of prosocial personality and the peak amplitude and latency of the P3, an ERP component considered to represent the perception and processing of a salient response, revealed that individuals' self-ratings of prosocialness were related to their ERPs. The findings from this study suggest that there are neural correlates for reasoning about prosocial-helping decisions and that there is a relation between these neural correlates and individuals' prosocial personality.