Article

Prosocial Behavior

Gilad Hirschberger and Uri Lifshin

in Psychology

ISBN: 9780199828340
Published online March 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0104
Prosocial Behavior

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • History and Systems in Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

The elaborate nature of human societies requires high levels of cooperation, and our social system benefits from reciprocal benevolence and goodwill. Yet, it is not entirely clear why each individual in this elaborate system is willing to expend his or her time and resources on the well-being of others. Is there a hidden benefit to our prosociality or are we hardwired to be good? What are the forces that operate on our decision to behave prosocially? Do genetic and evolutionary forces determine the extent of prosocial behavior? Is there a prosocial personality, with some people more dispositionally inclined to help than others? Or perhaps prosocial behavior is primarily determined by situational and environmental forces? These questions and others have guided the study of prosocial behavior for more than fifty years. During this period, the psychological interest in prosocial behavior has ebbed and flowed from the glory days of the late 1960s and 1970s through the 1990s and early 2000s, which mark the lowest point in prosocial research, up to the last few years during which prosocial research has experienced a renaissance with new ideas stimulating the revival of the field and the growth in the volume of research. The current article will review the state-of-the-art research on the psychology of prosocial behavior to provide a comprehensive overview of the field for scientists and students alike. This review will highlight the classic studies that constitute the foundations of the field, will illuminate questions and controversies that have come about as the field has progressed, and will discuss new and exciting directions in prosocial research that break new ground and open new paths for the future development of this discipline. But, what exactly is prosocial behavior? Some definitions place more emphasis on consequences and view prosocial behavior as a broad category of actions that are beneficial to other people. Others stress the importance of motivations and intents underlying prosocial behavior.

Article.  10579 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Health Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Social Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.