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

Matthieu Ricard's "A Plea for the Animals" Is a Must Read

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 26, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Matthieu Ricard's new book is one of the best in asking us to respect other animals and treat them with compassion. It is a game changer. It is indeed too late to be pessimistic.

The Ubiquity of Envy Is Fueling an Epidemic of Entitlement

By Christopher Bergland on September 19, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Of four basic personality types, a new study reports that "Envious" was the most common. How is envy linked to the epidemic of entitlement? What can we do to break this cycle?

How Volunteering Helps You

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on September 16, 2016 in Cravings
Want a long and happy life? Help someone else stay healthy.

Confessions of a (Former) Skeptic of Basic Income

By Gleb Tsipursky Ph.D. on September 07, 2016 in Intentional Insights
Are you skeptical about cash handouts? Find out if research supports your skepticism!

The Man Who was a Very Good Cook

Ever wonder what it is like to be a conscientious physician trying to practice medicine in contemporary America?

Goodness: An Often Underrated but Much Needed Virtue

There are many example of goodness out there. When we see it, it can inspire and motivate us. Perhaps we need to attend to goodness more often and model it as much as we can.

5 Things People Pleasers Need to Remember

Trying to please everyone robs you of mental strength. Here's how to stop saying yes to things you don't want to do.

Can Listening to Music Increase Cooperation at Work?

New research shows happy music helps boost cooperation.

Beware of Narcissists Bearing Gifts

When a narcissist gives you a gift, they are really giving a gift to themselves.

The Virtues of Sexual Generosity in Relationships

Generosity is very valuable for our well-being and health. Is this also true for sexual generosity?

Is the Warm Glow of Giving Universal?

If I gave you $20, would you feel happier spending the money on yourself or spending the money on someone else? If you’re like most people in the world …

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.