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

My Wife Interviews Me

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 18, 2016 in How To Do Life
Musings on making a difference, the decline of free speech and of good jobs, and fear of death.

Is Serving Others the Key to Meaning and Purpose?

Are you going through the motions day after day without feeling fulfilled, and tired of not having a sense of meaning and purpose in your life? Serving others might be the answer!

How Can Introverts Help Heal the World?

The world needs all of us to pitch in and make it a better place, but how can we do that when we really prefer not to leave our living rooms?

The Panama Papers Reveal the Solution to Global Suffering

How can we address global poverty quickly and effectively? Tax havens as revealed by the Panama Papers hold the key!

As We Wonder: A Heroine's Wisdom for Violent Times

A superheroine gives wisdom: "Don't kill if you can wound, don't wound if you can subdue, don't subdue if you can pacify, and don't raise your hand until you've first extended it."

5 Ways That Helping Others Is Self-Serving

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on July 07, 2016 in Think, Act, Be
Recent research suggests that caring for others may be as important as caring for ourselves when we're feeling stressed.

Ask and You Shall Receive

By David Ludden Ph.D. on July 06, 2016 in Talking Apes
Approaching a stranger to ask a favor can be difficult, but refusing a request can be just as hard.

Why Do People Buy Guns? A Behavioral Economics Perspective

Emphasizing the prevalence of guns in America (as gun control advocates often do) might lead people to buy more guns. I use behavioral economics to explain why.

A Bully's Brain Perceives Subordinating Others as a "Reward"

New research has pinpointed the neurobiological roots of bullying and offers clues on how to break the cycle of anger-fueled aggression.

The 7 Types of Love

By Neel Burton M.D. on June 25, 2016 in Hide and Seek
By focusing on romantic love, we neglect other types of love which are more readily accessible and may be more fulfilling and less limiting.

Why Do You Feel Better Around Certain People?

Why do some people make you feel better just being around them?
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Spiritual Activism

Spiritual seekers are sometimes criticised for being self-centered and indifferent, but true spirituality means altruism and engagement.

Tony-Nominated Director Liesl Tommy Makes More Than History

When we share our authentic stories and listen carefully to those around us, we all win. And we can thank people like the Tony nominated director Liesl Tommy, for showing us how.

Understanding Others

Understanding other peoples’ feelings is a catalyst for human connection.

A Psychological Approach to Making America Great

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 21, 2016 in How To Do Life
What a Psychology Party's platform might look like.
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Volunteer When Depressed? The Life You Save May Be Your Own

By Susan Noonan MD on June 18, 2016 in View From the Mist
My personal experience of how volunteering helped get me, and now maybe you, through depression.

Why Doesn’t Sharing Come More Naturally?

By Kyle D. Pruett M.D. on June 16, 2016 in Once Upon a Child
How to gently nudge our youngest children toward generosity

What Is Wisdom? "Wise Reasoning" Has Three Specific Facets

Two recent studies on wisdom help to pinpoint various factors that have historically made legends—such as Muhammad Ali—seem wise to people of all generations.

How Can We Prevent Regret About Our Charity?

How can we prevent unscrupulous people from taking advantage of our charity?

The Power of Giving - in Action

There is nothing so valuable as having what we offer to others taken, made use of, and experienced as having value and being useful and helpful. Irrelationship blocks this.

The Altruist of Newark Airport

In humans, conspicuous helping of strangers signals a ton about oneself to others. Take the case of Billy from Newark ...

500 Hours of Happiness

By Susan Hooper on May 29, 2016 in Detours and Tangents
As a volunteer music therapy aide at a busy urban hospital, I have learned firsthand the power of a piano to lift spirits and ease cares—at least for the length of a song or two.

The Communal Narcissist: Another Wolf Wearing a Sheep Outfit

By Peg Streep on May 24, 2016 in Tech Support
This type of narcissist can be subtle and hard to spot. Here's where to look for them.

Nonreciprocal Giving Isn't Generosity

When we give and give to others without reciprocation, it amounts to emotional manipulation NOT generosity.

Love and Psychotherapy

The therapist is always, first and foremost, a human being relating to another human being. Love is part of this equation.

9 Strategies for Effective Donors

Want to give with joy and maximum impact? Applying these steps will help you achieve that goal.

Introducing the Atlas of Emotions

By Paul Ekman Ph.D. on May 12, 2016 in Face It!
Backed by funding from the Dalai Lama, read about our new Atlas of Emotions.

Fight Apathy With An Unselfish Selfie

Are calls for help from every direction bringing you down? Consider taking an unselfish selfie!

Need a Hand? Just Ask (Really)

By Art Markman Ph.D. on May 11, 2016 in Ulterior Motives
We often underestimate how likely someone is to comply with a request. Why is this so—and why does it matter?

Anyone for Altruism? Calling All Republicans

Our winters are growing warmer; Americans like that. The medium-term impact of global warming may be negative. And how can we care for those adversely affected by climate change?