Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Prosocial Behavior

  • Z. ManesiEmail author
  • N. J. Van Doesum
  • P. A. M. Van Lange
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1894-1



Prosocial behaviorcovers a broad range of actions intended to benefit others. This includes, but is not limited to, cooperation, sharing, helping, charitable giving, and volunteering. As such, prosocial behavior usually entails some (small or even large) cost for the actor, such as spending resources, time, and effort or sometimes even incurring physical harm. For example, acts of kindness or charity (e.g., offering your seat in the bus or giving few coins to a beggar) but also self-sacrifice or heroism (e.g., donating a kidney to save others’ lives or intervening to help strangers in emergencies) are all prosocial behaviors. The question is why people do such nice things for others? Many explanations have been provided at many levels; in the present entry, we focus on the fundamental role of certain personality traits and incentives in promoting prosocial behavior. We look at who is more likely...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. Manesi
    • 1
    Email author
  • N. J. Van Doesum
    • 2
  • P. A. M. Van Lange
    • 1
  1. 1.Social and Organizational Psychology, Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement SciencesVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Unit of Social and Organizational Psychology, Faculty of Social and Behavioural SciencesLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

Section editors and affiliations

  • John F. Rauthmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA