January 4, 2014

Prosocial behaviors often follow patterns of intuitive psychological processes rather than control-oriented processes

Intuitive Prosociality
Jamil Zaki and Jason P. Mitchell

Abstract: Prosocial behavior is a central feature of human life and a major focus of research across the natural and social sciences. Most theoretical models of prosociality share a common assumption: Humans are instinctively selfish, and prosocial behavior requires exerting reflective control over these basic instincts. However, findings from several scientific disciplines have recently contradicted this view. Rather than requiring control over instinctive selfishness, prosocial behavior appears to stem from processes that are intuitive, reflexive, and even automatic. These observations suggest that our understanding of prosociality should be revised to include the possibility that, in many cases, prosocial behavior—instead of requiring active control over our impulses—represents an impulse of its own.

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2 comments:

  1. "Most theoretical models of prosociality share a common assumption: Humans are instinctively selfish"

    Why do you think they still share this assumption?

    Dacher Keltner (http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/) describes in his book "Born to Be Good" tons of reasons for which this assumption is plain wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Peter,

    My main hypothesis is that the fact that we are more sensitive for negative information in general gives us a skewed view of human nature.

    What do you think?

    ReplyDelete

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