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Six Degrees of Social InfluenceScience, Application, and the Psychology of Robert Cialdini$
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Douglas T. Kenrick, Noah J. Goldstein, and Sanford L. Braver

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199743056

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199743056.001.0001

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Egoism or Altruism?

Egoism or Altruism?

Hard-Nosed Experiments and Deep Philosophical Questions

(p.109) Chapter 11 Egoism or Altruism?
Six Degrees of Social Influence

Stephanie L. Brown

Jon K. Maner

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines whether true altruism exists as opposed to egoism with regard to acts of kindness, heroism, and generosity. Drawing on Robert Cialdini's work as well as research and theories from psychology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and economics, it explores the motives that cause people to help others. It considers how Cialdini and other social psychologists demonstrate the importance of rigorous scientific methods in addressing some of the most foundational questions about human behavior such as helping and caregiving. It also assesses the implications of social bonding and prosocial behavior for physical health. The chapter concludes by offering some recommendations for how research can (and should) inform public policy.

Keywords:   altruism, egoism, Robert Cialdini, psychology, human behavior, helping, caregiving, social bonding, prosocial behavior, physical health

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