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Navigating the Social WorldWhat Infants, Children, and Other Species Can Teach Us$
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Mahzarin R. Banaji and Susan A. Gelman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199890712

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199890712.001.0001

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What Do Children and Chimpanzees Reveal About Human Altruism?

What Do Children and Chimpanzees Reveal About Human Altruism?

Chapter:
(p.395) 6.11 What Do Children and Chimpanzees Reveal About Human Altruism?
Source:
Navigating the Social World
Author(s):

Felix Warneken

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199890712.003.0073

This chapter reviews studies on altruistic behavior. Young children engage in helping behaviors and so do chimpanzees. These findings challenge the idea that human altruistic behaviors are due to socialization practices in the form of parental instruction or the internalization of norms alone. There is no question that socialization practices can profoundly influence children's basic altruistic tendencies. However, it seems that these practices build upon processes that are shared with our closest evolutionary relatives, rather than completely reshaping our biological endowment. Moreover, recent findings from comparative and developmental psychology indicate that altruistic behavior should not be viewed as a unitary trait. There are different ways that humans can engage in altruistic behavior, and these varieties may be supported by distinct psychological mechanisms.

Keywords:   altruistic behavior, children, chimpanzees, helping behavior, socialization

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