When It Comes To Your Brain, What Gives?

If someone gave you a check and two options — keep the money for yourself or spend it on someone else — what would you do?

A study published in Science did just that. What they found suggests that money actually can buy happiness — when it’s spent on other people.

The brain has a complex relationship with giving and receiving. Some experts say that humans are hardwired to give, even when it’s logically and economically unwise. So, when it comes to gifting, is it really the thought that counts?

Wrapping your brain around giving

Get inside your head to find out the breakdown of your basic anatomy that makes giving (and receiving) feel so good.

Drag right to unpack your brain

Swipe right to unpack your brain

It’s Not How Much We Give, Just How We Give It

“Receiving gifts and favors can be lovely, but there is also a potent and irreplaceable joy in giving that most people need to express,” says Karl Zinsmeister in his book, The Almanac of American Philanthropy.

Gifting Illustration

What Kind of Giver Are You

Edit each of the boxes to select the answer that best describes you.

I prefer to buy make choose gifts. I like to give something that my friends/family need want need. It’s more enjoyable if I give them a physical gift money time an experience a physical gift. I can can't can plan ahead for my gifts because it’s stressful exciting stressful. If it’s for a good cause, I’d rather give my money time money.

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Survival of the Givers

Popular theorists like E.O. Wilson believed that altruism was programmed into species to help them survive. Though Wilson later went back on his theory, he came to the conclusion that altruism "evolved for the sake of the community."

Sharing — whether it’s in the form of a material gift, or a kind gesture — benefits us all.

When it comes to gifting, it truly is the thought that counts. Whether you’re giving the gift of tradition, time, adventure, or experience, it’s the connection between the giver and receiver that’s the real magic of being human.

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