For millennia, the character strength of generosity has been valued by cultures across the world. Ancient scriptures and texts praise the generous giver. However, only in the late 20th century did researchers begin to rigorously seek to understand generosity. This entry addresses four questions: What is generosity? How is generosity measured? How does it develop in a person? Is generosity beneficial?

Generosity’s Composition

When cataloguing character strengths valued across cultures throughout history researchers fold the trait of generosity into the broader concept of altruistic love, which is defined as the self being oriented toward another. Altruistic love also includes other-oriented character strengths such as kindness, compassion, and care. Three key components of generosity are identifiable from its association with altruistic love. First, generous people are others focused. ...

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