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Altruism and Altruistic LoveScience, Philosophy, and Religion in Dialogue$
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Stephen G. Post, Lynn G. Underwood, Jeffrey P. Schloss, and William B. Hurlbut

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195143584

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195143584.001.0001

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Extraordinary Acts of Ordinary People

Extraordinary Acts of Ordinary People

Faces of Heroism and Altruism

Chapter:
(p.123) 8 Extraordinary Acts of Ordinary People
Source:
Altruism and Altruistic Love
Author(s):

Samuel P. Oliner

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195143584.003.0012

We characterize behavior as altruistic when it is directed toward helping another, involves a high risk or sacrifice to the actor, is accompanied by no external reward, and is voluntary. Normocentric individuals are those who take part in rescuing or helping activities and who have internalized highly valued norms. Many values of caring and social responsibility are acquired directly from parents. The extensive-personality predisposition comprises emotionally healthy attachment to family and the inclusion of others as deserving of care. For normocentric rescuers, inaction is a violation of the community's religious and moral norms of behavior. Empathic motivation involves concern with the fate of another in distress, and compassion, sympathy, and pity are its characteristic expressions. Principled motivation involved acting on one's own.

Keywords:   normocentric, emphatic motivation, values, caring, rescue

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