Psychology of Altruism: A Brief overview


Hello everyone, I hope that you had a great new year.


Today’s blog post is on Altruism as I plan to release a second edition of the Psychology of Human Relationships in February 2020.


This will be a brief overview that I will expand upon more in my 2nd Edition psychology book.

Please enjoy and share on social media!


What are some factors that determine if we help others?

· Personality and situational factors can increase helping- for example if you are a helpful and happy person as well as if the situation promotes helping behaviour then you are more likely to help.

· Machvavellism is the willingness to manipulate others for gain. As excepted as machvavellism increase, helping behaviour decreases.

· Belief in a just world- generally the belief in a just world is likely to prevent people from doing wrong or failing in moral duties. (Hafer, 2000; Sutton and Winnard, 2007) However, these beliefs can increase the chance of people not helping when they don’t feel obligated to help. (Balbert, 1999; Stelan and Sutton,2011)

· Empathy- the more empathy a person has the more likely people are to help.

· Moral reasoning- people who reason more tend to demonstrate a higher level of empathy and altruism.

· Religiosity- if your region places a high value on helping then you can more likely to help as you feel obligated.

· Having positive role models- Scloeder, Penner, Dovido and Pilivin, 1995) showed that people who witness more altruistic behaviour from role models tend to be more altruistic themselves


Some factors that increase the likelihood of being helped include:

· Age- people are more likely to help the young and the elderly compared to a 30 year old adult.

· Gender- woman are more likely to receive help than men. (Bruder- Maltson and Hovanitz, 1990) There are many possible reasons for this fact. Both honourable and less honourable.

· Attractiveness (Witson and Dovidio, 1985)- linking back to the factor above the more attractive you are the more likely you are to be helped.


I hope that you have enjoyed this very brief introduction to the psychology of Altruism and if you want to know more about the psychology of human relationships or the psychology of altruism then please check out Psychology of Human Relationships by Connor Whiteley.


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Have a great week everyone!

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