Prosocial Behavior

Prosocial behavior, or "voluntary behavior intended to benefit another", consists of actions which "benefit other people or society as a whole," "such as helping, sharing, donating, co-operating, and volunteering." These actions may be motivated by empathy and by concern about the welfare and rights of others, as well as for egoistic or practical concerns. Evidence suggests that prosociality is central to the well-being of social groups across a range of scales. Empathy is a strong motive in eliciting prosocial behavior, and has deep evolutionary roots.

Prosocial behavior occurs when someone acts to help another person, particularly when they have no goal other than to help a fellow human. So why does this altruistic behavior appear? One thought, of Kin Selection, is that it is a genetic response to supporting the broader gene pool. Social conditioning can also have be a cause and prosocial parents lead to prosocial children. The Reciprocity Norm may also have an effect, where people help others, knowing that one day they may want someone else to help them in the same unselfish way. Demonstrating such social norms is likely to get you admiration from other people around you. Prosocial behavior varies with context as much as between people. Men will tend to be chivalrous for short periods, whilst women will work quietly for longer periods. People who are in a good mood are more likely to do good, as are people who are feeling guilty. People in small towns are more likely to help than those squashed together in cities.

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Evidence abounds of people helping others without asking for anything in return. This is the whole principle of charity. Their rationale for helping others is often Intrinsic Motivation.

Prosocial behavior fosters positive traits that are beneficial for children and society. It may be motivated both by altruism and by self-interest, for reasons of immediate benefit or future reciprocity. Evolutionary psychologists use theories such as kin-selection theory and inclusive fitness as an explanation for why prosocial behavioral tendencies are passed down generationally, according to the evolutionary fitness displayed by those who engaged in prosocial acts. Encouraging prosocial behavior may also require decreasing or eliminating undesirable social behaviors.

Although the term "prosocial behavior" is often associated with developing desirable traits in children, the literature on the topic has grown since the late 1980s to include adult behaviors as well.

Read more about Prosocial Behavior:  Origin of The Term, Reciprocity Vs. Altruism in Prosocial Behavior Motivation, Situational and Individual Factors Relating To Prosocial Behavior, Prosocial Behavior in Childhood Through Early Adolescence, Prosocial Media Programming and Children, Social Media and Prosocial Behavior in Natural Disasters, Psychopathy, A Disorder Characterized By A Lack of Prosocial Behavior, Prosocial Dissidence

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