Queen's University

The Structure of Human Prosociality: Differentiating Altruistically Motivated, Norm Motivated, Strategically Motivated, and Self-Reported Prosocial Behavior

Figures from the report The Structure of Human Prosociality, by decision neuroscientist Dr. Anita Tusche.Prosocial behavior is crucial for functioning societies. However, its reliable scientific assessment and the understanding of its underlying structure are still a challenge. We integrated 14 paradigms from diverse disciplines to identify reliable and method-independent subcomponents of human prosociality; 329 participants performed game theoretical paradigms and hypothetical distribution tasks commonly used in behavioral economics and completed interactive computer tasks and self-reports typically employed in psychology. Four subcomponents of prosociality were identified by exploratory factor analysis and verified by confirmatory factor analysis in an independent sample: altruistically motivated prosocial behavior, norm motivated prosocial behavior, strategically motivated prosocial behavior, and self-reported prosocial behavior. Altruistically motivated behavior was related to gender, to enhanced cognitive skills, and to reduced negative affect. Our study provides a crucial step toward an overarching framework on prosocial behavior that will benefit future research on predictors, neural underpinnings, and plasticity of human cooperation and prosociality. (Read More)