VSL:SCIENCE // What science can tell us about social impulses

Humans are social animals, but some of us are more outgoing than others. A new paper by scientists at the University of Cambridge pinpoints the brain areas that may account for our social abilities — or lack thereof.

The researchers gave 41 randomly selected men an elaborate personality test and brain scan, and found a surprising correlation: Men who were more social had a denser concentration of cells in the two brain areas (the orbitofrontal cortex and the ventral striatum) that are known to be involved with the perception of social pleasure. It’s not clear that anatomical differences are a cause, rather than an effect, of social interactions. But the scientists do hypothesize that some brains are simply better equipped to enjoy the company of others.

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