How Prosocial Behavior is Related to Psychological and Socioemotional Results

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About this sample


Words: 1766 |

Pages: 4|

9 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

Words: 1766|Pages: 4|9 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

Table of contents

  1. Prosocial behavior theories
  2. Altruism
    Kin selection/ Kin Altruism
    Reciprocal altruism
    Norms of reciprocity:
  3. Conclusion

Prosocial behavior defined as action projected to support another person (Eisenberg, Fabes, & Spinrad, 2006). In other words, prosocial behavior has hypothetically and empirically connected to a variety of different actions or activities such as socioemotional (Carlo, Fabes, Laible, & Kupanoff, 1999) and psychological outcomes (Basurto, Blanco, Nenadovic, & Vollan, 2016).

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For example, the act of helping a blind person on the street by assisting crossing the street securely is considered to be a means of prosocial behavior (Toumbourou, 2016). Nevertheless, some actions can either be projected as pure and genuine feelings of selflessness, whereas others could also assume as selfish, reward in return and internally demanding motives is also part of the prosocial behavior (Eagly, 2009) (Dalal, et al., 2015).

Prosocial behavior in individuals has always been of interest to educators, society, and researchers, but the past decade predominantly has viewed an augmented attention on this subject (Basurto, Blanco, Nenadovic, & Vollan, 2016). Real-world, as well as academic concerns, has focused a considerable amount of research on this subject (Imuta, Henry, Slaughter, Selcuk, & Ruffman, 2016). However, despite progress in understanding certain aspects of this important topic, many questions remain such as different situations impact individuals, groups, and gender differently (Pearl, 1979).

For example, a social psychologist who provides counseling treatment is known to be rich with a tremendous empathy and natural care to their patients who are in need of assistance (Ronald, 2007). They practice their full theoretical information, real-world methods of treatment and effort to support these patients. But, at the finish of these meetings, they charge some amount of money for their time and energy. The full action is what exactly prosocial behavior is, where both parties involved gain benefits at the end of the day (Imuta, Henry, Slaughter, Selcuk, & Ruffman, 2016).

Little has acknowledged regarding the primary to prosocial behavior practices in the academic world. However, researchers propose that empathy, kin selection, altruism, and emotion regulation abilities, may all add to the absence and presence of prosocial behavior in the present society. This essay will analyze and evaluate the various social psychological theories, indirectly or indirectly, connected to prosocial behavior.

Furthermore, this article will also examine the different situational factors affect the likelihood that people engage in prosocial behavior. Various social psychological theories studied this research and observed the wide range of situational factors that influence people to participate in prosocial behavior. The primary motive of this essay was to explore the relationship between social psychological theories and prosocial behavior.

Prosocial behavior theories


Altruism is the drill of concern for the prosperity of others. That is why altruism is also known as selflessness (Batson D. C., 1988). In other words, the act of helping others without having a feeling to receiving anything in return is altruism. This type of behavior is a part of prosocial behavior, where helping someone with no intention of taking internal or external incentives in return. Some researchers also claim that altruism is a key inspiration for prosocial behavior (Eisenberg, Fabes, & Spinrad, 2006). Such people usually go out of their way to help individuals who are either physically, socially or psychologically weak and requires assistance at some point in their life (Ronald, 2007).

Altruism is a part of everyday’s life. People who help others, divide their positive energy with other people and their only compassion towards humanity and even other creatures to provide happiness. In other words, altruism is directly or indirectly connected to finding gladness in helping others (Toumbourou, 2016). Altruism such as sympathy, empathy are the keys to socializing and social relationships that are energetic to our pleasure (Batson D. C., 1988). Academics claim that serving societies and doing a real action out of the ordinary can raise levels of satisfaction (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2010).

A simple illustration of altruism is when a particular makes an unnamed contribution to a person, cluster or society without recognition, political or economic gain; here, the donation is the prosocial action, and the altruism is what inspires the achiever to act (Thye & Lawler, 2009). The only difference between the prosocial behavior and altruism inspiration is a reward, the prosocial action is a connection with selfishness, whereas altruism derived through selflessness (Pearl, 1979). Similarly, if the person make a named contribution to a charitable trust, society or person with the intention of recognition is also an act of prosocial behavior but without altruism intentions behind the action (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2010)

Kin selection/ Kin Altruism

Kin selection is one of the models which have been proposed by evolutionary psychologists to define why people engage in prosocial behavioral patterns (Eberhard, 1972). According to this theory, people are more like to help another person who is related to us to preserve the sustainability of genetic makeup for the future (Thye & Lawler, 2009).

In other words, kin refers to a person, creatures, and group having a common ancestry. The Kin selection means selection of helping someone who is from the same or common descent. So, the intention of helping our family members is also an action of prosocial behavior. However, the inspiration behind the work is the kin selection (Basurto, Blanco, Nenadovic, & Vollan, 2016).

Kin selection is also known as kin altruism due to its selflessness, but the only difference is the choice of serving others is common ancestry. There are some different examples to describe the kin selection; one familiar example is alarm calls (Eberhard, 1972). For instance, some closely related creatures groups such as collectors, chimpanzees, and whales, extended clan members produce an alarm sound which is warning signal for all the same ancestry to aware about that the predator is within striking range (Dalal, et al., 2015).This frightening sounds, signals, and calls allow other family members to flee from the danger, allows family associates to escape from danger, this is why this type of behavior is also qualified as altruism and also part of the prosocial behavior (Engels, 1983).

Hence, it is evident from the above explanation and examples provided for the kin selection, or kin altruism also describes different situational factors affect the prosocial behavior in society.

Reciprocal altruism

Another type of altruism is a reciprocal altruism. Altruism refers to behavior that performed for the sake of benefitting others at a cost to oneself. In other words, while serving or benefiting others person put oneself at a cost and expect a return in the future. Reciprocal altruism is when altruistic behavior showed because they increase the likelihood of repayment in the future (Stewart - Williams, 2007). It seemed impossible for a body that acts unselfishly for the sake of another body to advantage in any way that would encourage that plant’s reproductive success. This is simply because selfish individuals would on average have more resources than generous people (Macandrew, & Periloux, 2012).

Norms of reciprocity:

The standard of reciprocity occasionally mentioned to as the instruction of exchange is an everyday norm where if somebody does somewhat for you, you then feel thankful to return the favor (Batson C. , 2000). One area where this model is usually engaged is in the field of advertising. Marketers utilize an extensive variety of policies to influence customers to make purchases. Some are upfront such as sales, coupons, and superior promotions are some of the familiar examples of the norm of reciprocity (Batson D. C., 1988).

Another example to explain the situational impact on prosocial behavior is one should help people who have helped us. Imagine that one wish to have a day off from work due to a family wedding and unluckily one is supposed to work that particular day. One convinced a co-worker to work on that day and expected to agree to a similar request from a colleague in the future. So in other words, reciprocity norm suggest that we should help people who have helped us in different situations (Dalal, et al., 2015).


There is no exact description of empathy because theorists disagree on some constructs. Specifically, some scientists assume that empathy involves only recognizing emotion, another state that it includes experiencing it, while others indicate that understanding contains both labeling and experiencing emotion (Broke, 1979). Additionally, some researchers conceptualize sympathy as a component of empathy, while others conceptualize sympathy as an empathic response or reaction (Toumbourou, 2016).

Sometimes it is critical to distinguish empathy from the prosocial behavior because some form of prosocial behavior is completely inspired and can consider the outcome of empathy. Moreover, many forms of prosocial behavior such as sharing are not necessarily associated with empathy directly or indirectly. Thus, it is easy to state that empathy is more suitable to associate with prosocial behavior as a multidimensional construct, rather than a global concept, as it is traditionally viewed (Batson, Fultz, & Schoenrade, 1987). So, it will not be wrong to claim that prosocial behavior and empathy are interconnected in some ways and inspires each other in different situations.


Overall, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between social psychological theories of prosocial behavior. Various methods studied during this research and found that there are main two types of behavior can associate with prosocial behavior; one is selfishness actions, and other is selflessness. These are two main approaches found during the research.

As already described in the article above that prosocial behavior contains comforting, assisting, encouraging, guiding and defensive others either connected with the common ancestry or not. During this research, it also found that different situational factors impact the different genders, age groups, creatures differently. For instance, examples of a blind person, chimpanzees, and many more evident that various inhabitants in the society behave differently in similar situations only due to the different inspiration that has in their everyday life, whereas the only similarity is most of the type of behavior directly or indirectly connected with the prosocial behavior.

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The typical conclusion is that prosocial behavior increases in frequency with age and gender (Broke, 1979). The sum of research in the areas of both prosocial behavior and social cognitive development suggests that the conceptualization of prosocial behavior as merely increasing in frequency may not sufficiently describe the changes that occur (Dalal, et al., 2015). However, philosophies propose that empathy, empathic reacting, kin selection, altruism, and emotion regulation abilities, may all add to the presence or absence of prosocial behavior (Hilbig, Glockner, Zettler, & Laura A., 2014).

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How Prosocial Behavior is Related to Psychological and Socioemotional Results. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 4, 2023, from
“How Prosocial Behavior is Related to Psychological and Socioemotional Results.” GradesFixer, 12 Mar. 2019,
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