Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Basic Biomedical Science

First Advisor

Dr. Lee Baugh


social discounting, altruism, imaging, kin/non-kin, fMRI


Social Discounting is defined as the decrease in generosity between the decision maker (participant) and the recipient of a gift as social distance (perceived closeness) between the two increases. To date, there is little data that has been collected that compares both the responses of behavioral performance and the corresponding neural activity when individuals are asked to make decisions about money based upon how close they feel to someone of their kin or not of their kin as their perceived social distances or relationships change. This specific study includes both fMRI and behavioral data analysis and takes into account the difference in perceived social distance between kin and non-kin relationships in correspondence with blood flow to specific areas of the brain that are being activated when participants are asked to make decisions regarding altruistic or selfmotivated decisions. Analysis of the imaging data collected showed 4 main regions more active when participants imagined how they would feel receiving a gift versus giving the gift. These active regions were observed within the right superior temporal gyrus, right middle frontal gyrus, BA8 in the frontal cortex, and the left superior frontal gyrus.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.