Psychology Behind Why We Give

giving backPeople give or give most of the time out of the goodness of their heart right? While many people do try to give just to help, there are many subtle reasons behind why people give. Pure altruism is an action intended solely to benefit another. In 2008 it was recorded that 80% of adults donate money or time to a charity. Here are some theories as too why people give and if it is just pure altruism or something else:

People are more willing to help people that they connect with or see as similar to themselves. A person’s sense of community and who they are exposed to affects who they help. It is shown through case studies that when children are brought up interacting with many different kinds of people they are more willing to help strangers and be more broadly charitable. It is also seen when people see others as somehow similar to themselves in values, personality or physical traits they are more likely to help them.

The Social Responsibility Norm is the societal rule that people should help those that are in need. Society can greatly affect behavior and this norm pushes people to help those in need. People want to look giving and helpful to fit the norm and it works especially in bystanders of someone in need. Approval also affects giving. The norm also makes people who give more, get more praise and approval. It is shown that when donations are public and get noticed people give more then if it is a private donation.

There are many reasons people give, but one of the biggest factors in giving is when people feel empathy for another. The empathy-altruism hypothesis is the idea that if someone empathizes with the person in need they will want to help for purely altruistic reasons. When you try to put yourself in others shoes you are much more likely to feel a connection and need to help another. Think about what is behind your own giving and what you can do to help all kinds of people.

Whatever reason is behind your giving its always great to help others! If you are feeling like helping out check out Zealous Good to see which charities in Chicago need donations and how you can help

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