Prosocial Behavior

By: Dr Carla Kesrouani June 23, 2023 no comments

Prosocial Behavior

Prosocial behavior refers to voluntary actions that benefit others. Examples include helping, sharing, cooperating, donating and volunteering.

It plays an important role in societies, so let’s explore what influences this positive behavior and how it can be promoted.

Prosocial behavior manifests itself in several forms like the voluntary action that benefits others or promotes social harmony. It can include helping, sharing, cooperating, donating, volunteering, and other forms of altruism. Prosocial behavior is influenced by various factors, such as personality, empathy, social norms, and situational contexts. And it can have positive outcomes for both the giver and the receiver, such as increased well-being, happiness, trust, and social cohesion.

Why Do People Act Prosocially?

People Act ProsociallyThere are several factors and methods that play an influential role in people’s orientation to positive interaction with the rest of the individuals around them, and each of these influences plays a valuable role in the positive interaction between the group of individuals who make up society.

Several factors motivate people to behave in prosocial ways:

  • Empathy – The ability to recognize and feel what others experience encourages helping and compassionate actions.
  • Sympathy – Feeling concern for others in need can activate a desire to alleviate that need through positive acts.
  • Social norms – Cultural values that promote reciprocity, fairness and caring for others shape prosociality from a young age.
  • Mood elevation – Positive moods increase feelings of being able to make a difference, motivating positive behavior.
  • Self-interest – Even helping for selfish reasons like gaining a reward or good reputation still benefits the recipient.
  • However altruism – truly selfless helping with no expected benefit – appears rare. Most prosocial behavior ultimately satisfies both other’s and one’s own needs.

How Can Prosocial Behavior Be Increased?


Several strategies can potentially encourage greater this behavior:

  • Emphasize interdependence – Highlighting how we rely on each other to meet common goals increases prosociality more than independence.
  • Strengthen social connections – Developing close, supportive relationships fosters a sense of shared fate that motivates giving and helping.
  • Focus on consequences – Drawing attention to how actions impact others – rather than rules or social norms – elicits more positive decisions.
  • Increase empathy – Teaching perspective-taking and emotion understanding skills from childhood improves ability to recognize and emotionally connect with others.
  • Set a good example – Role models who demonstrate positive behavior through their own actions serve as powerful influences on children.
  • Reduce anonymity – When people feel their identity is known, they tend to behave more prosocially since reputation matters more.

While challenging to implement, efforts that give people – especially youth – opportunities for prosocial involvement show the most promise for nurturing positive traits that improve wellbeing across society.

So, this positive behavior benefits both recipients and providers, fulfilling basic psychological needs for social connection and contribution. Though shaped by diverse motivations, efforts to increase empathy, closeness and role modeling from an early age can promote values and habits that make the world more compassionate, collaborative and just. Fostering greater prosociality thus remains a worthwhile goal for individuals and communities alike.

In conclusion we say:

Prosocial behavior is any action that benefits others or society as a whole. It can include helping, sharing, cooperating, volunteering, donating, and more. So it has many benefits for individuals and communities. It can improve well-being, happiness, health, relationships, and social cohesion. It can also reduce stress, aggression, violence, and prejudice. By promoting this positive behavior, we can create a more positive and harmonious world for everyone.

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