Thou can’t not covet

Thou can’t not covet

Wanting what others have may be hardwired in the brain

By Laura Sanders, 12:37 PM May 22, 2012

As every kid knows, the very best toy is the one that someone else is playing with. A new study on covetous adults explains why other people’s possessions always seem better.

Seeds of this desire are sown in the mirror neuron system, a part of the brain that is activated in a similar pattern whether a person is performing an action or merely watching someone else do it.

“Mimetic desire” was first articulated by the French philosopher René Girard in the 1980s. Envy can spread among people ...

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