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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Intuitive Prosociality

By Jamil Zaki and Jason P. Mitchell
Current Directions in Psychological Science 22(6) 466–470
DOI: 10.1177/0963721413492764

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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