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 since cooperative behavior allowed 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

Are LGBTs More Likely to Pursue a Career in Nonprofits?

LGBTs Espouse Stronger Altruism Than Heterosexuals

Kindness Is Our Business

By Tim Leberecht on May 01, 2015 in The Romance of Work
Small or big acts of kindness have become an outright trend both at the workplace and in customer experiences—and that’s a good thing!

The Secret to Well-Being

Finding one's happiness is each individual’s personal adventure, but research can provide some guidance. Find out what science tells us is the key to finding your happiness and learn the five essential elements that lead to well-being.

5 Ways to Know When to Leave the Relationship

You don't want to go home anymore. You don't look forward to seeing or being in the actual company of the person with whom you are intimately involved. You prefer the idea of the relationship to the reality of it; you have an idealized image of the beloved that is far enough removed from the everyday, authentic person that being in his or her presence undermines, erodes an

Ivan Denisovich vs Ants

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn admitted that Russians were occasionally like insects. But he didn't like it.

10 Tips to Change From Reactive to Proactive in Situations

All of us encounter experiences in life when we may be temporally overwhelmed by a negative emotion, be it anger, pressure, nervousness, despair, or confusion. In these situations, how we choose to “master the moment” can make the difference between proactive versus reactive, and confidence versus insecurity. Here are ten ways to be less reactive in difficult situations...

Who Owns the Embryos?

By Joann P. Galst Ph.D. on April 18, 2015 in Fertility Factor
What couples can learn from the conflict over embryo disposition between Sofia Vergara and her ex-partner Nick Loeb.

The Art and Science of Haggling

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on April 18, 2015 in A Sideways View
Often the most popular skills based courses are those on negotiation. They teach among other things the gentle but very important arts of haggling and persuasion: in short how to get a good deal. Why is it so important and what is the fundamental psychology of haggling?

The Gold Standard for Healing the World...

Remember an incident when someone listened deeply to you and then talked with you when you were in a bad place. Would you want to honor that person if you could? If so, they would just want you to do onto someone else what they did onto you. Isn't that so?

Expanding the Self

We should reciprocate the gift of our own lives..... To be focused narrowly - worrying excessively about our personal skills and accomplishments and about the public's regards of these - is to remain forever a child.

What Do I Need in Order to Live the Way I Want?

There is an "in spite of" quality to pursuing what is most important in life.

Are Women More Emotional Than Men?

Is There Evidence of Women’s Greater Negative Emotionality All Around the World?

What Makes a Book Great?

By Sheila Kohler on April 09, 2015 in Dreaming for Freud
I have been reading “Crime and Punishment” with a group of New Yorkers. Where else could one find a group of people interested enough to meet every week or so and discuss a book of this kind? We are all enjoying the book so much, so that at one point I asked somewhat guiltily if it might actually be considered “trash” rather than the great book history has decided it is.

Making the Most of Your Charitable Giving

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on April 08, 2015 in How To Do Life
Most people work hard for the money they give to charity, but that money often doesn't do as much good as it could.

The Zen of Love

What propels a person to leave the beaten path and try something new? We seem to be predetermined by our early experiences, especially when it comes to abuse and neglect. Yet, some people free themselves of their conditioning and leap into something they have never encountered: love. Little do we comprehend when it comes to leaps, but what we know may just be a good start.

Biased? Yes, against the tide and FOR baby’s needs

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on April 05, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
Someone recently remarked that I was biased... Yes, I am biased FOR babies. I am out of sync with biases that lead people to think letting babies scream is a good thing. Not!

Want To Be A Hero? Embrace Suffering and Sacrifice

The wisdom gleaned from theology and psychology reveals six ways that suffering and sacrifice are beneficial to human beings.

Custodians of the Neighborhood

We like to keep our neighborhoods in good condition—free of graffiti, broken streetlights, litter, and potholes. Who are the custodians of our neighborhoods? And are they wasting their time?

The Self-Deceptions of Recycling

By Kenneth Worthy Ph.D. on March 31, 2015 in The Green Mind
It’s important to keep in mind that recycling not only takes large amounts of energy and resources to turn materials into products again, it also may lead to greater consumption and avoidance of better solutions. It’s better to instead focus on the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Changing the ‘No Casserole’ Response to Mental Illness

A mother of two who is active in the International Bipolar Foundation shared a story the other day. When her youngest daughter was diagnosed with diabetes, friends called, sent cards and flowers, brought food, and posted encouraging Facebook messages.

Did Copilot Andreas Lubitz Conceal His Illness?

Many patients with severe, melancholic depression dissimulate and pretend that everything is fine so that family and caregivers will not block their suicidal plans. This danger of dissimulation in severe depression is something that psychiatrists have always known about.

Peter Singer Argues for "Effective Altruism" in His New Book

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 25, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Renowned philosopher Peter Singer's new book called "The Most Good You Can Do" is a very thoughtful discussion about charitable giving. Whether you agree or disagree with Professor Singer's arguments I guarantee they will make you think deeply about what you do with your money and if your donations really do the most good you can do. This book also left me hopeful.

Rescue the Mangroves, Rescue Ourselves?

By Sam Osherson Ph.D. on March 24, 2015 in Listen Up!
A small, dirt-road fishing village on the Pacific coast of Mexico organizes to restore their threatened ocean environment and provides hope for all of us. They remind us of the powerful hunger to take care of the natural world and "our animal relatives."

We Really Do Die Alone

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on March 24, 2015 in Brick by Brick
When working to improve public health, there are often many things that we simply can't change. Social isolation has proven to be a robust and significant risk factor of poor health and early mortality. And there is something we can do about it.

The One-Minute Group Meditation

Of all the interventions available for facilitators, this one minute at the end of group has impressed me most.

If Selfish Genes Build Brains, Why Aren’t We All Solipsists?

Contrary to what you might think, the “selfish gene” paradigm does not imply that we should be self-centered to the point of believing that only we exist.

Do You Like Your Sister?

Sympathy, compassion, understanding, respect, generosity and a willingness to forgive are essential features of every important relationship, including ones between members of an immediate family.

How Helping a Friend Can Go Horribly Wrong

By Shawn M. Burn Ph.D. on March 18, 2015 in Presence of Mind
Providing loans, housing, or jobs to friends or relatives is risky business, fraught with potential conflict. These dual personal and business relationships can result in unexpected internal and interpersonal conflict and temporarily or permanently damage the personal relationship, or strengthen it. Here are some guidelines for managing your dual relationships.

Science and the Online Dating Profile

Online dating is the new singles bar, one in which your words won't be drowned out by the music. But which words should you use? There is some scientific evidence about relatively more effective ways to turn an online contact into a real huggable moment.