Altruism Essential Reads

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Study Shows Generous Behavior Leads to Increased Happiness

Helping others can lead us toward a brighter tomorrow.
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Six Reasons Why People Give Their Money Away, or Not

By Sara Konrath Ph.D. on November 26, 2017 in The Empathy Gap
Why do people give away their hard-earned money to charity? An economist and a psychologist explain.

The Virality Equation

By Sander van der Linden Ph.D. on November 25, 2017 in Social Dilemmas
What makes some issues go viral, while others never seem to take off? New research explains why.

Why People Who Have Less Give More

By Utpal Dholakia on November 20, 2017 in The Science Behind Behavior
Every one of us can learn valuable lessons from the generosity and compassion of the poor.

Are Psychopathy and Heroism Two Sides of the Same Coin?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on November 16, 2017 in Media Spotlight
A new research study looking at first responders suggests that heroes and psychopaths have more in common than you might think.

Why Be Tolerant? Lessons From Bonobos

By Lydia Denworth on November 10, 2017 in Brain Waves
Humans aren't the only species willing to help strangers for no benefit. Bonobos, one of our closest relatives, do it, too.

Power: Five Non-Traditional Views

By Robert Enright Ph.D. on October 30, 2017 in The Forgiving Life
Is your basic life-orientation to seek power over others or to use what power you have to be in service to others? Five ideas are presented to help you self-examine power.

The Weight of the World

By Wendy Lustbader M.S.W. on September 24, 2017 in Life Gets Better
We are not helpless.There is power in the collective will to survive and make life good for those who come after us.

Born Good?

Economists, taking altruism seriously, find mixed evidence parents model it for their young children, stronger evidence that young kids are impressionable in this domain.

Do We Humans "Need" Tragedies to Bring Us Together?

By Saul Levine M.D. on September 22, 2017 in Our Emotional Footprint
During major cataclysms, differences and conflicts between us seem to dissipate, and we tend to reach out to each other with increased caring, empathy, and sense of community.

Do Romantic Relationships Imply a Loss of Self? Should They?

A recent column by David Brooks raises the false dichotomy between individuality and sociality.

Should You Donate to Disaster Relief?

By Jared Celniker on August 31, 2017 in Partisan Pitfalls and Moral Misperceptions
Disasters capture our attention and emotions, but we may do more good by ditching empathy as a moral guide.

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.

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 We Know About Gratitude And Giving Back

There is no question that gratitude is good for you. But is it good for society too?

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.

Coping With Not Knowing What Happened to a Missing Loved One

We have become used to images of missing people collecting on street corners as signifying the hope of those searching for any news.

Why Is It So Hard to Be Altruistic?

By Kristin Brethel-Haurwitz, Ph.D. and Abigail Marsh, Ph.D. on May 08, 2017 in For Goodness’ Sake
Cooperation and generosity are the norm, not the exception.

Is It Truly Better to Give Than to Receive?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on May 05, 2017 in Talking Apes
When we give, we reap more than we sow, as long as we do so willingly and believe it will help.

Helping Your Neighbor

We often help others with expectations of help in return at a future point. Turns out, this is a basic feature of what it means to be human.

On Raising an Honest Child

How do we teach our kids to be honest, even if it means admitting to breaking the rules? Research on children's lying behavior might be able to provide us with some helpful hints.

5 BIG Ideas on Who We Are

To truly understand what it means to be human, an understanding of evolution is essential. Here are five eye-opening reasons why.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Helping

By Roni Beth Tower Ph.D., ABPP on February 26, 2017 in Life, Refracted
Helping someone you love, through providing needed assistance, filling their request, assuming their task, or even taking care of yourself can enhance intimacy, respect, gratitude.

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.

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.

What Leading Critics Get Wrong About the Film, Toni Erdmann

By Stanton Peele Ph.D. 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.