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

Status in a Group Affects Generosity Toward the Group

By Art Markman Ph.D. on February 21, 2017 in Ulterior Motives
Groups of people naturally form groups that have status hierarchies. How does someone's status affect their generosity toward other group members?

The Pure Hubris of "In His Shoes I'd Have Acted Differently"

Judge people for what they do. But don't pretend you can understand why they did it, or whether their motives were good.

Cultivating Generosity

By Kate Levinson Ph.D. on February 08, 2017 in Emotional Currency
Ordinary generosity is extraordinary.

Immigration and the Benefits of Other-Regarding Actions

By Mark O'Connell L.C.S.W.- R. on January 29, 2017 in Quite Queerly
Studies show that empathy, generosity, and altruism can lead to a healthier, happier, and longer life. So, let's offer it up to our fellow Americans: old, new, and aspiring.

Kurt Lewin, the Refugee Who Founded Social Psychology

A refugee from Nazi Germany, Kurt Lewin, founded social psychology. Imagine a world where the U.S. shipped him back to die with his mother and sister in the concentration camps.

Noblesse Oblige in a “Let Them Eat Cake” Nouveau Riche Era

By Christopher Bergland on January 25, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
All too often, a "greed is good" mentality makes people behave selfishly. This post presents anecdotal and empirical evidence that reaffirm the benefits of generosity and kindness.

The Psychology of Stronger Together

On January 21, 2017, millions of people around the world marched to support women's rights. The evolutionary psychology of forming communities can help us understand why.

Dear Mr. President: New Anthology of Letters from Teens

By Jennifer Haupt on January 18, 2017 in One True Thing
Letters to President Trump from diverse students nationwide express a wide range of concerns as well as compassion.

This New Year Focus on Something that Helps You and Others

By Christine Porath Ph.D. on January 13, 2017 in Thriving at Work
Consider how civil you are, and what you can do to improve, because your civility can provide benefits—to you and others— all year round.
San Francisco Zen Center

How Much Is Enough?

By Kate Levinson Ph.D. on January 12, 2017 in Emotional Currency
What a tea ceremony revealed about my relationship with money.

2017 Awareness Calendar

It only takes one person to make a difference - just think of what thousands can do.

What Leading Critics Get Wrong About the Film, Toni Erdmann

By Stanton Peele on January 02, 2017 in Addiction in Society
The new film, Toni Erdmann, named after a mocking character, is seen as the new intellectual solution for our lives mired in corporate inanity. But it's actually inhumane mockery.

Life (and Death) Lessons Learned from "The Walking Dead"

The Walking Dead offers commentary on the struggles anyone might face in the worst situations. People can struggle to retain their humanity even without an apocalyptic scenario.

3 Inspiring Stories of Everyday Compassion

By Jennifer Haupt on December 30, 2016 in One True Thing
These folks have made the world a little brighter for others in totally different ways.

Giving Love and Support to Others Could Help You Live Longer

By Christopher Bergland on December 24, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Making an effort to take care of people within—and beyond—your immediate family is associated with longer life expectancy for the caregiver, according to a new international study.

Gifts and Burdens

By Katherine Hawley Ph.D. on December 22, 2016 in Trust
Why is it so difficult to get it right?

4 Reasons Why People Regift

For many, regifting is common practice. But what motivates a person to pass along a gift?

Hormones and Brain Regions Behind Eye Contact and Empathy

Clues to the hormonal and brain correlates of eye contact and empathy have been provided by studies of people with autistic symptoms.

The Spirit of Generosity Part 2

When my husband says he loves me, I sometimes say, “Give me the details.”

The Spirit of Generosity Part 1

If you have been in a working partnership for any length of time, you will have discovered that true love requires sacrifice and a spirit of generosity.

How Parents Raise Children to Fit In

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on November 29, 2016 in The Human Beast
There is a lot of skepticism about whether parents truly affect their children. Comparing kids in different societies finds links between parenting and outcomes.

Don’t Be Fooled on Giving Tuesday: Give Wisely!

By Gleb Tsipursky Ph.D. on November 29, 2016 in Intentional Insights
Some ineffective charities try to fool you by appealing to emotions. This article can help you make the best decisions in your giving!

Darwin’s Parenting Tips

For many of us, parenting is our #1 priority and challenge. Here is some guidance on the process brought to you by good old evolutionary psychology.

The Politics of Faking Orgasm: Saving Time, Saving Face

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on November 21, 2016 in Insight Therapy
People who fake orgasms deprive themselves of great pleasure for an empty show of it, introduce a lie into an act of trust, distance into an occasion for closeness. Why?

7 Simple Ways to Become a More Grateful Person

Gratitude is one of the most underutilized superpowers of all time. These activities will help you become more grateful.

Deciding, Fast and Slow

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 16, 2016 in Talking Apes
The classical view of fast intuitive thinking and slow rational thinking may be flawed. Instead, it’s when our goals conflict that our decision making slows down.

Giving Your Heart and Selling Your Soul

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on November 15, 2016 in In the Name of Love
It seems that when love is not all you need, it is unthinkable to give your soul.

Why Is It Better to Give Than to Receive?

How does giving of ourselves lead to us feeling more full?

Soulmate Marriages Are "Greedy," New Research Shows

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on November 05, 2016 in Living Single
Is marriage a greedy institution that monopolizes couples’ time and attention? Maybe so, especially when wives think of marriage as a union of soulmates.

Your Vote May Be Worth Millions!

By Gleb Tsipursky Ph.D. on November 03, 2016 in Intentional Insights
You think your vote is not important? Think again!