Altruism And Altruism

1280 Words 6 Pages
Everyone is aware that species help each other, however they do it even if it puts their own lives at risk. A question frequently asked is whether they perform these selfless acts with the intention of being rewarded back or if they perform them with no aim of reward or gain. This is the question of altruism. Altruism is defined as an act that an individual engages in, that presents a benefit to the recipient but comes at a cost to the individual presenting the act. In evolutionary terms the costs and rewards are based on reproductive success and fitness, and this is measured by the number of copies of a gene that is passed on to generations. The existence of altruism is an issue for Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, as natural …show more content…
This is because relatives have a high chance of possessing and sharing a gene and fitness is measured by the number of copies of a gene passed on through generations. There are two ways in which they can increase their fitness; by mating and directly passing on genes to their offspring, or indirectly by helping other individuals, who are likely to carry the same gene, reproduce successfully. This indirect and direct fitness is known as inclusive fitness and allows for altruism to develop natural selection if the behaviours allows for a genetic relative to successfully reproduce more of a gene than the individual performing the …show more content…
Dovido (1984, Dovido & Penner) demonstrated that one factor that will influence our willingness to help someone is our perceived similarity to the individual, such as nationality or attitudes. Gender is also a factor that has been found to influence who people behave altruistically too. Eagly and Crowley (1986, Holt et al 2015) found that male bystanders are more likely to help women in need, whereas women were found to help either men or women in need. Another factor is perceived fairness and responsibility which was suggested by Blader and Tyler (2002). They said that people were more likely to help another individual if they believe that they were not responsible for causing his or her disaster (Holt et al, 2015). Taking these pieces of research into consideration when explaining altruism, it does contradict the evolutionary theory as these explanations for engaging in altruistic behaviour, do not provide any benefits for the individuals’ survival, fitness or reproductive

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