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Social Value Orientation

  • By: Paul A. M. Van Lange & Chris P. Reinders Folmer
  • In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
  • Edited by: Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Subject:Social Psychology (general)

People differ in how they approach others. Some people tend to approach others in a cooperative manner, whereas other people tend to approach others in a more self-centered manner. Such social dispositions have been demonstrated to be quite important in various contexts and are often examined under the heading of social value orientation. This concept refers to preferences for particular distributions of outcomes for self and others. One could discriminate among various social value orientations, such as altruism, equality, cooperation, individualism, competition, aggression, and the like. However, research has supported a threecategory typology that discriminates among three orientations—prosocial orientation, individualistic orientations, and competitive orientation.

Prosocial orientation is defined in terms of enhancing one's own and another's outcomes (“doing well together”) as well as equality in outcomes ...

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