“You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” — The Apostle Paul, Acts:20:34-35 (NASB)
"Neuroeconomics" is a relatively new field that brings together elements of economics, psychology, and neuroscience in an attempt to explain human decision-making. In other words, neuroeconomics tries to explain how various financial, psychological, and neural factors work together as we make money-related choices.
You could call it a "close cousin" to behavioral economics, a field of study that looks at the emotional and cognitive factors that come into play in financial decisions. But neuroeconomics goes in a different direction by examining actual brain mechanisms, i.e., which areas of the brain are particularly active when processing money-related matters.
Now that you have that bit of background, here's the news: A just-released neuroeconomics study from the University of Zurich in Switzerland suggests (although the researchers don't mention this specifically) that the words of Jesus recounted by Paul in Acts 20 are, not surprisingly, spot on.
From Medical News Today:
Researchers have found a connection between happiness and the performance of selfless acts. Giving to others, they say, activates an area of the brain linked with contentment and the reward cycle.
It has long been acknowledged that acts of generosity raise levels of happiness and emotional well-being, giving charitable people a pleasant feeling known, in behavioral economics, as a "warm glow." But so far, no studies have investigated the mechanics behind the correlation between altruism and happiness….
[T]he study confirmed the researchers' initial hypothesis that the ventral striatum and the [temporoparietal junction, where the temporal and parietal lobes come together,] interacted when generous behavior was displayed. They noted that the orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain linked with decision-making, was also involved.
The researchers have expressed their enthusiasm about these findings, stating that their newfound knowledge might provide ways of reinforcing generous behavior with the promise of a happier life.
You can check out the research details (PDF) in the current Nature Communications journal.
Or you could just "remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"