Altruism is fascinating. Partly because it goes against what we understand of human nature —that people inherently desire the greatest amount of instant gratification with the least amount of effort. As I wrote recently, what separates us from our ape cousins is this very desire for instant gratification. Humans, because we have a better-developed pre-frontal cortex, can assess second, third, or even fourth order consequences of any given action, and CHOOSE to inject self-discipline in favor of a longer term outcome (i.e. pain now, gain later). The pre-frontal cortex is involved with planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision-making, and moderating social behavior; all of which, as it turns out, are highly involved in the desire and decision to be altruistic.