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					Serotonin Levels Determine Sense of Fairness - Forbes.com                                 http://www.forbes.com/forbeslife/health/feeds/hscout/2008/06/0...



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         Serotonin Levels Determine Sense
         of Fairness
         06.04.08, 8:00 PM ET
                                                                                                                                              Yes      No
         THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of a brain chemical
         known as serotonin govern the way people react to unfair offers when
         they play the game of life, a new study indicates.                                                                                   Yes      No

         Serotonin, which carries messages between neurons, is involved in
         emotional control. One recent study found that the expression of anger
                                                                                                                                              Yes      No
         in women was affected by variations in a gene governing the receptors
         for serotonin in brain cells.
                                                                                                                                            Get Quotes!
         The new study, reported in the June 5 issue of Science, had people play
                                                                                             News by E-mail Get stories by E-Mail on this topic FREE
         what is called the Ultimate Game, which is being used widely in
         psychological and neurological studies. The game has one player
         proposing a way to split a pot of money. If the offer is accepted by the            Topics
         other player, both get paid. If it is refused, neither gets a payment.                                                      HealthDay-
                                                                                                  HealthDay-BRAI
                                                                                                                                     Cat-Neurological
         The researchers had some players make deliberately unfair offers: "I get
         80 percent, you get 20 percent." They found that players given a                         HealthDay-EMOT                     HealthDay-Cat-Mental
         chemical that lowered serotonin levels were more likely to reject an
         unfair offer.                                                                       Become a member FREE               Already a Member? Log In
         Serotonin levels have that effect, because the chemical is involved in the
         activity of the prefrontal region of the brain, explained study author Molly        Enter Username                     Enter E-Mail Address
         J. Crockett, a doctoral student at the University of Cambridge in                                                      Receive Special Offers?
         England.                                                                             Select Your Title

         "One recent study on the Ultimate Game showed that when an unfair                    Sign Me Up!
         offer is accepted, you see activity in the prefrontal cortex," Crockett said.
         "Down-rating the emotional response makes it more unlikely that an                  FAQ | Terms, Conditions and Notices | Privacy Policy
         unfair offer will be accepted."                                                     Also available: E-Mail Newsletters
         In other words, lower serotonin levels also meant a higher level of
         resentment, so that an offer that wasn't as good as it might be would be
         turned down. Conversely, higher serotonin levels would make it easier to
         live in an imperfect world.

         It's hard to apply that knowledge directly, Crockett said.

         "What we did was have people fast overnight," she said. "On some days
         of the study, they took either a pill with all amino acids or a placebo. On
         the experiment day, they took a pill with all the amino acids but
         tryptophan. Over the course of several hours, that would have been
         converted to serotonin."



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Serotonin Levels Determine Sense of Fairness - Forbes.com                               http://www.forbes.com/forbeslife/health/feeds/hscout/2008/06/0...


         Knowledge about the role of serotonin in the emotions already is being ADVERTISEMENTS

         put to use, sometimes legally and sometimes not, said research team     Project Management
         member Matthew D. Lieberman, an associate professor of psychology at Villanova Project Management Certification 8 weeks - Free
         the University of California, Los Angeles.                              info.
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         Prescription medications such as antidepressants are known to affect           Countrywide® Home Loans
         serotonin levels, and the same is true of MDMA, the psychedelic drug
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         whose street name is Ecstasy, Lieberman said. It is, he said, "a quick         Processing Fees.
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         One everyday implication of the study is that brain chemistry "is going to     Refinance Now: Fed at 2%
         affect how we judge other people and are treated by other people,"             $180,000 Mortgage for $579/mo. Compare up to 4 Free
         Lieberman said.                                                                Quotes!
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         A proposed experiment would have people play the Ultimate Game                 Lean Six Sigma Online
         inside a magnetic resonance imaging machine that would produce                 Lean Six Sigma Online Certification Program-Find Out More
         images of brain activity, Lieberman said. "We could see, as we change          Now.
         serotonin levels, how the brain responds in an imaging study to fair and       www.VillanovaU.com
         unfair offers," he said.
                                                                                        Tulane University
         More information                                                               Lead Like An MBA. Business Certificates Online!
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         Learn how antidepressant drugs act on serotonin from the Mayo Clinic.
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