Serotonin molecule 3D view. Image by Wikimedia Commons
Neuroscience News: Human social advantages over apes may be due to higher dopamine levels

We are social individuals and our success as a species has much to do with behaviors such as empathy, altruism and language. This is due in part to a brain region in our brain called the striatum, which has a unique neurochemical profile in humans, different from our relatives such as chimpanzees. One major difference between the humans and other primates is that we possess significantly more dopamine (a neurotransmitter) in the striatum, as shown by new research. It is believed that this change in brain chemistry occurred millions of years ago and it triggered the development of the complex human social networks.

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