Altruism (Psychology)

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  • Unselfish concern for another's welfare. “Helping behavior” is formed by cultural norms and expectations instantiated by the family and the immediate social environment. Children increasingly help others to gain social approval until, in their late teens, helping behavior occurs even when no one is watching, out of a belief that it is morally good. Three major theories explain why people help without external reward. The first approach, the cost-reward theory, claims that people find the sight of a victim distressing and offer to help in order to reduce their own unpleasant (physiological) arousal. The evaluation of the costs associated with helping and not helping determines the occurrence of actual helping behavior. If the costs for the potential helper are low (i.e., not much effort ...

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