Altruism

Altruism

Understanding Altruism

Altruism is acting out of concern for another’s well-being, not because you are obligated to, but simply because you feel like helping. Oftentimes, people behave altruistically when they see others in desperate circumstances and feel empathy and a desire to help. Altruism doesn’t always come naturally, since by definition, it requires people to disregard their own concerns to help others without any expectation of reward. However, cooperative behavior did allow our ancestors to survive under harsh conditions, and it still serves a necessary purpose to our society today. In fact, many modern psychologists believe that we’re hardwired for empathy and acts of altruism. Even though people don’t behave altruistically for any kind of recognition or reward, they often feel energized and happy after helping others. Humans aren’t the only ones who can behave altruistically. Animals also benefit from individual members of their group who disregard the personal costs and perform acts of kindness for the rest of the group.

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