Understanding Altruism

Acting with an unselfish regard for others doesn't always come naturally, even though many psychologists believe we're hard-wired for empathy. After all, cooperative behavior did allow our ancestors to survive under harsh conditions. But most of us realize that when we make the effort to give without expectations of reciprocity, we feel fulfilled and energized.

Recent posts on Altruism

How To Avoid Regret When You Open Your Heart

Want to protect yourself from regretting opening your heart and being charitable? This article can help you avoid making bad decisions about your generosity.

Beyond the Bystander Effect

By Cameron Brick, Ph.D. on July 24, 2017 in Grasping Risk
Are you more likely to recycle if someone is watching? It may depend on your identity

As a Lover, Are You a Giver or a Taker?

Giving back and receiving are fundamental components to human interactions. New research shows when you’re likely to give back, and who’s like to give back to you.

Small Acts of Generous Behavior Can Make Your Brain Happier

New research shows that very small amounts of generosity can affect you on a neurobiological level.

What Everyday Situation Can Drain Your Empathy for Others?

By Meg Selig on July 11, 2017 in Changepower
Would you stop to help someone in trouble? The surprising everyday situation that can destroy your compassion for others—and nine easy ways to make things better for everyone.

What Happened To Moderation, Civility, and Compromise?

How polarized are we, and what can we do to reclaim the democratic virtues of moderation, civility, and compromise?

Chores: Secrets To Winning the Parent-Kids Chore-Wars

Fights about chores demoralize everyone in a family. At the same time, children's participation in the tasks that keep life going is vital to their become self-sustaining adults.

Heroes' Origins: Must Superheroes Suffer Parental Loss?

The Film Psychologist looks at psychological consequences of losing parents for the the world's three most famous superhero orphans, and Stan Lee shares his thoughts on the matter.

What We Know About Gratitude And Giving Back

There is no question that gratitude is good for you. But is it good for society too?

Wonder Woman and Wondering

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 26, 2017 in Ambigamy
Everyone is motivated by inspirational movies. This should cause us to wonder more about their lessons, like believing in yourself or that love is the answer.

Decoding the Complex Brain Mechanics of Altruism and Empathy

A new study by a team of neuroscientists from Duke and Stanford University debunks the myth that a singular brain region is responsible for making decisions that affect others.

Pride in Mental Health: Advocacy

An interview with Jillian Weiss of Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, and Calvin Stowell of DoSomething.org.

Boost Your Sex Appeal in Four Extraordinary Ways

Ordinarily, to boost your sex appeal you alter your physical appearance, but try these extraordinary strategies, no physical alterations required!

Heat Wave Temperatures Make It Tougher to Do the Right Thing

As millions of people endure record-breaking heat waves, a new study reminds us of the psychological impact high temperatures can have on prosocial behaviors.

Seven Ways to Uplift a Friend (and Yourself) in Crisis

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on June 21, 2017 in Feeling It
How many times do we find ourselves with a friend who is going through a breakup, a loss, or another difficult life transition and find ourselves at a loss for what to do?

Innovation Handmaids

By Moses Ma on June 18, 2017 in The Tao of Innovation
What can The Handmaid's Tale teach us about technology innovation?

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Pitching In

In a situation requiring an extra hand, pitching in offers ways to show love.

Coping With Not Knowing What Happened to a Missing Loved One

We have become used to images of missing people collecting on street corners as signifying the hope of those searching for any news.

Ariana Grande, I Wish You Were Our President!

By Aldo Civico Ph.D. on June 07, 2017 in Turning Point
After an attack at the end of her concerts in Manchester, Ariana Grande chose to respond with compassion and courage, showing the quality of authentic leadership, needed today.

Paying It Forward: Generativity and Your Vagus Nerve

Scientific research suggests that if each of us made an effort to improve our "vagal tone" that we could create an upward spiral that would make the world a better place.

Kindness Towards Oneself and Others Tones Your Vagus Nerve

Having compassion towards yourself and others is the key to creating an "upward spiral" of well-being as marked by healthier vagal tone in your vagus nerve.

Awe Engages Your Vagus Nerve and Can Combat Narcissism

Recent research shows that experiencing a sense of awe promotes the "small self" and can combat narcissism by activating the parasympathetic vagal response to "tend-and-befriend."

Stop the Search: An Interview With Gangaji

By Mark Matousek on May 23, 2017 in Ethical Wisdom
Gangaji is one of the most respected spiritual teachers in America today. Her wise words are balm for the soul in our conflicted and dangerous times.

The Age of Dissociation

We are past the point of anxiety, and our defenses are maxed out.

Why Is It So Hard to Be Altruistic?

Cooperation and generosity are the norm, not the exception.

The Karma of Creativity

By Jennifer Haupt on May 07, 2017 in One True Thing
You volunteer, help others, treat the barista with respect, and try to be kind, and when you sit down to write, your imagination turns on like a friendly lightning bolt.

Is It Truly Better to Give Than to Receive?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on May 05, 2017 in Talking Apes
When we give, we reap more than we sow, as long as we do so willingly and believe it will help.

Psychology's Final Frontier: Understanding Heroism

Stories like the Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever” offer a chance to consider how we would act when facing the profound unknown and facing great moral dilemmas.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

By Grant H. Brenner M.D. on April 27, 2017 in ExperiMentations
What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and what does it mean?