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Prosocial Behavior

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Synonyms

Altruism; Helping behavior

Definition

Prosocial behavior is commonly defined as a voluntary action that benefits another individual or group of individuals. Although the term, in its broadest sense, may refer to any positive social behavior, researchers have tended to focus on interpersonal behaviors such as helping and comforting that are performed for individuals who are perceived as needing assistance. Prosocial behavior refers to a person’s action, not his or her intent; thus, prosocial behavior can be motivated by self-oriented (i.e., egoistic) and/or other-oriented (e.g., altruistic) reasons.

Description

The capacity to engage in prosocial behavior emerges at an early age and evolves during childhood and adolescence [4]. However, large individual differences have been found in children’s tendencies to display prosocial emotions and behaviors in response to others. The following brief review describes some of the factors that contribute to the development of, and...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_2273
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References

  1. Barnett, M. A. (1987). Empathy and related responses in children. In N. Eisenberg & J. Strayer (Eds.), Empathy and its development (pp. 146–162). New York: Cambridge University Press.

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  2. Eisenberg, N. (1992). The caring child. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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  3. Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., & Spinrad, T. L. (2006). Prosocial development. In N. Eisenberg (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 3. Social, emotional, and personality development (6th ed., pp. 646–718). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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  4. Eisenberg, N., & Mussen, P. H. (1989). The roots of prosocial behavior in children. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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  5. Hoffman, M. L. (2000). Empathy and moral development: Implications for caring and justice. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Barnett, M.A. (2011). Prosocial Behavior. In: Goldstein, S., Naglieri, J.A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_2273

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