The Importance Of Prosocial Behavior

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Do people really want to help others, or there is always a motive behind pro-social behavior. If helping others takes time and effort and always comes with a cost, materialistic or not, then why do people help? Is every action people engage in, a selfish one, or do they sometimes help others just for the sake of helping? Social psychologists disagree on why people help and since there is evidence for both opinions the debate is still continuing.

Prosocial behavior is defined as “actions by individuals that help others (often, with no immediate benefit to the helper)” (Baron & Branscombe, 2012, p.291), and “one form of prosocial behavior that almost always makes people feel good about other people is altruism, or helping someone in trouble with no expectation of reward and often without fear for one’s own safety”. (Ciccarelli & White, 2015, p.490)

Social psychologists identify
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Kin selection theory proposes that the purpose all organisms including humans, is to pass their genes to the next generation, therefore they help their closest relatives. They also believe that people would also help a non relative, as they aim for the survival of the more giving individuals and therefore increase genetic fitness. (Kassin, Fein & Markus, 2011). Consequently evolutionary psychologists are basically stating that human nature is egoistic and only serves the self.

The Social psychology perspective has its own theories as to why people help others. Egoism or pseudo altruism is also believed to be the major incentive for pro-social behavior and many social psychologists suggest that an act of helping, always has an ulterior motive. They argue that pro social behavior is motivated by one's desire to gain internal and sometimes external rewards that sometimes cannot be directly

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