Prosocial Behavior - Reciprocity Vs. Altruism in Prosocial Behavior Motivation

Reciprocity Vs. Altruism in Prosocial Behavior Motivation

The purest forms of prosocial behavior are motivated by altruism, an unselfish interest in helping another person. According to Sanstock, the circumstances most likely to evoke altruism are empathy for an individual in need, or a close relationship between the benefactor and the recipient. However, many prosocial behaviors that appear altruistic are in fact motivated by the norm of reciprocity, which is the obligation to return a favor with a favor. People feel guilty when they do not reciprocate and they may feel angry when someone else does not reciprocate. Thus some professionals argue that altruism may not exist, and is completely motivated by reciprocity. Either reciprocity or altruism may motivate many important prosocial behaviors, including sharing.

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