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Do we become more prosocial as we age, and if so, why?


Mayr, Ulrich; Freund, Alexandra M (2020). Do we become more prosocial as we age, and if so, why? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29(3):248-254.

Abstract

Older adults contribute—through charitable donations or volunteering—more to the common good than younger adults, an age difference that has profound society-level implications. Yet the reasons for this difference are not well understood. Evidence suggests that a purely altruistic concern for the common good is a major motivation for prosocial behavior and that this concern increases across adulthood. We argue that this finding, and prosocial behavior in general, is better understood using a value-based decision framework than through traditional dual-process accounts. Following the value-based decision approach, we derive specific hypotheses about life-span changes in motivation or resources as factors that explain why older adults show an increased concern for the well-being of other people.

Abstract

Older adults contribute—through charitable donations or volunteering—more to the common good than younger adults, an age difference that has profound society-level implications. Yet the reasons for this difference are not well understood. Evidence suggests that a purely altruistic concern for the common good is a major motivation for prosocial behavior and that this concern increases across adulthood. We argue that this finding, and prosocial behavior in general, is better understood using a value-based decision framework than through traditional dual-process accounts. Following the value-based decision approach, we derive specific hypotheses about life-span changes in motivation or resources as factors that explain why older adults show an increased concern for the well-being of other people.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > General Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 June 2020
Deposited On:12 Oct 2020 15:30
Last Modified:21 Mar 2021 08:44
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0963-7214
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721420910811

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