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

Money for Nothing, but the Chicks Aren't Free

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on August 21, 2016 in Pop Psych
New research finds that altruists (or at least men) tend to have a greater degree of mating success. As usual, however, the matter is more complicated than that.

The Neuroscience of Going from Machiavellian to Magnanimous

By Christopher Bergland on August 18, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Why would four U.S. Olympic swimmers fabricate a story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro? A new Oxford study explains the brain mechanics of self-serving behavior.

Anti-Racist Action and Becoming Part of the Solution

For many well-intentioned white people, it is easy to slip into despair and passivity when it comes to taking action on social issues related to racism.

Olympics Bare Extreme Range of the Human Spirit

By E. Paul Zehr Ph.D. on August 16, 2016 in Black Belt Brain
While we can aspire to Olympic ideals of decorum we often fail to adhere to their real life practice...a short coming not restricted to high performance athletes, of course.
Kristin Brethel-Haurwitz

Above and Beyond

Why would someone donate a kidney to a complete stranger?

Yes, You Can Do It! Self-Control May Be an Infinite Resource

Researchers are beginning to question the notion that self-control is a depletable resource. This is good news for anyone looking for inspiration and motivation to seize the day.

Do You Truly Love Animals?

Do you know how to show your love for animals truly? This article helps illustrate some surprising insights!

How to Help the Homeless

When a homeless person asks you for spare change, what should you do?

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!
Wonder woman0731/Flickr

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?
flickr.com

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.
Bigstock.com

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 ...