Sunday, 25 Nov, 2007 Science

A Man's Satisfaction Lies in Earning More than His Pals


A good salary is something everyone wants, but for men a better salary than their peers provides more pleasure than some other things.

A study showed that when a man is paid more than his co-workers and if this fact is unfair, a "reward center" is stimulated in his brain.

The "reward center" of the brain is a region that gives feelings of pleasure in response to such experiences as eating good food, achieving a goal, having sex, or when a favorite team wins a game.

The latest researches used brain scans to show that the "reward center" is stimulated when a man gets paid for performing a given task. The research also showed that in men this fact depended very much on how much he was paid.

The study consisted in scanning the volunteers' brains while they carried out the same tasks. A successful task was rewarded with 30 to 120 Euros ($49 - $196). During the tests each of the 38 participants knew the results of their partners and how much they have been paid for these results.

The scans where directed to monitor blood circulation changes in the men's brains and to reveal regions of high blood flows, to show which nerve cells where especially active. The ventral striatum, the area, which showed much activity when a player received money for a successful task, showed the most activity when they knew other men earned less.

The scans proved that if two partners both completed a task successfully, but were paid differently, the one, who was paid more, showed more brain, whereas the other one not, even though both gave the same correct answer.

According to the Science magazine and to Prof. Armin Falk, of the University of Bonn in Germany, the results of current research were a total contradiction of the economic theory, which suggested that the one and only factor that mattered was the absolute size of the reward and not its comparison with other people's rewards.

The research is planned to be conducted on women.

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