Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Altruism Advertises Cooperativeness

  • Manpal Singh BhogalEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3474-1



Altruism refers to benefit provisioning behavior, and cooperation is defined as exchange between two or more individuals which is mutually beneficial.


Altruism is defined as a behavior that is beneficial to a receiver but costly to the altruist (Trivers 1971). Altruism is a phenomenon which causes evolutionary theorists trouble when tying it into the overall play of evolution. Why be altruistic to someone you do not know?

The reason why altruism is a puzzling phenomenon is because it is costly in nature. Being altruistic has also been argued to be costly to an individual’s fitness, beneficial to the receiver’s fitness but at a cost to the altruist. Because of the fitness deficit between altruist and recipient, Sanchez and Cuesta (2005) argue that altruism should therefore cease to exist over time if it provides us with no direct evolutionary advantage(s). However, we observe altruism in everyday life; giving up one’s seat for an...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Institute of Human SciencesUniversity of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin Kniffin
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA