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

Truth Is Not the Only Truth

By Theodore Dalrymple M.D. on September 12, 2017 in Psychiatric Disorder
Is it necessary always to tell the truth? Shakespeare denied it and he was right.

Becoming a Patient

Ever wonder why physicians delay going for help for themselves? Here are some answers.

3 Tips to Donate Effectively After a Natural Disaster

By Utpal Dholakia on September 10, 2017 in The Science Behind Behavior
Giving cash, staggering donations, and vetting the charities you give to will ensure your donation has a greater impact.

52 Ways: A Story of Showing Love Through Food

By Roni Beth Tower Ph.D., ABPP on September 10, 2017 in Life, Refracted
Feeding others shows love by providing for, nourishing, seducing, or delighting.
Wikimedia Commons for noncommercial use

Hanging Together

By Erik M. Gregory Ph.D. on September 04, 2017 in The Secular Shepherd
The use of collective power for those in need

10 Ways to Improve Your Days

By Atalanta Beaumont on September 02, 2017 in Handy Hints for Humans
Ten Handy Hints for Improving your Life

Should You Donate to Disaster Relief?

Disasters capture our attention and emotions, but we may do more good by ditching empathy as a moral guide.

Evolutionary Logic

Some people are confused on the basic reasoning of evolutionary psychology. Once you understand “evolutionary logic,” it all falls into place.
Michael D. Kennedy/Wikimedia Commons

Are You Self-Sacrificing?

By Lisa Tessman Ph.D. on August 23, 2017 in I'm Only Human
Self-sacrifice doesn’t always involve sacrificing your own individual self. We also self-sacrifice when we give up what matters the most to us—which might not be our own self.

Tribalism and a Way to Common Ground

If you are tired of the on- and offline vitriol inhabiting our daily lives today, consider this: we have a lot more in common than you might think.

Three Ways Money Buys Happiness

By Mark Holder, Ph.D. on August 17, 2017 in The Happiness Doctor
Money really can buy happiness, if you spend it right. Research has identified three ways that spending your income can lead to greater happiness.

Superhero Therapy: A Book to Help Your Inner Hero

In her book Superhero Therapy, Janina Scarlet shows that a fear or weakness does not make a hero any less heroic, and that we all can be heroes both for ourselves and for others.

Holding the "Both-And" in Times of Stress

Compassion, wisdom, and curiosity may just be able to help us avoid the well trodden path to polarization, them vs us, and the limits of right and wrong. We are more than all that!

Seven Studies Show That Virtue Truly Is Its Own Reward

By Meg Selig on August 09, 2017 in Changepower
Is virtue really its own reward? These seven studies suggest that good actions actually do bring a surprising wealth of benefits to those who help others.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Caring and Caregiving

Providing care to a loved one who is dependent, fragile, or in need shows love in a basic way. Those who give with generosity and reliability rewards themselves as well as others.

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.

4 Surprising Secrets of Sex Appeal

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?