Egoism or Altruism? Hard-Nosed Experiments and Deep Philosophical Questions

Stephanie Brown, Jon Kenneth Maner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines whether true altruism exists as opposed to egoism with regard to acts of kindness, heroism, and generosity. Drawing on Robert Cialdini's work as well as research and theories from psychology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and economics, it explores the motives that cause people to help others. It considers how Cialdini and other social psychologists demonstrate the importance of rigorous scientific methods in addressing some of the most foundational questions about human behavior such as helping and caregiving. It also assesses the implications of social bonding and prosocial behavior for physical health. The chapter concludes by offering some recommendations for how research can (and should) inform public policy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSix Degrees of Social Influence
EditorsDouglas T. Kenrick, Noah J. Goldstein, Sanford L. Braver
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780199743056
StatePublished - 2012


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