Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

College

College of Health and Human Services

Department

Psychology

Degree Name

Psychology, BA

First Supervisor

Reed Mueller, Ph.D.

Keywords

altruism, human species, reciprocal altruism, group-function, traits, behavior

Abstract

The purpose of this meta-ethnography was to explore the theories surrounding human altruistic behavior. I began by selecting a series of empirical and theoretical sources for review. After reading the empirical materials, I summarized empirical studies within categories such as the observed psychological, biological, and social factors associated with altruism. I then reviewed the theoretical literature and established the similar trends in the discussion about the social application of altruism. The trends that I found were reciprocal altruism, the importance of small-group function in facilitating large-group function, and that group function is imperative for a successful future of humanity. After translating these trends amongst the theoretical sources, I discussed how the various aspects of the empirical review are compatible with the theoretical trends. I contend that reciprocal altruism was the most prominently recurring topic of discussion throughout both the empirical and theoretical reviews. I concluded by arguing that the active employment of altruism in interaction with strangers can have a lasting impact in a community and ultimately in a much larger population.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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