Pro-Social Behaviour: Meaning & Characteristics

Pro-social actions are those undertaken to benefit others. These deeds feel compassion for the needs, emotions, and safety of others. Demonstrating these Pro-social traits of caring about the feelings and well-being of others are examples of empathy and concern. Examples of pro-social activity span a broad spectrum, from providing aid and support to offering comfort and working together with others. The phrase was coined in the 1970s by sociologists to complement the more commonplace concept of antisocial conduct.

What does Pro-Social Behaviour Explain?

There are several ways in which the "helping" might benefit from engaging in acts of kindness, in contrast to the apparent positive impacts on the beneficiaries. According to studies, helping others has been demonstrated to boost one's mood, and those who assist others report feeling less down in the dumps regularly. The ability to lean on one's community for help during trying times is only one of the many advantages of social support. As has been established in several studies, the chance of experiencing negative emotions like loneliness, alcohol abuse, and depression may all be mitigated by having strong social ties. Assisting others may be a wonderful method to lessen stress's influence on your life since studies have shown that doing good for others helps reduce the negative emotional impacts of stress

Aspects of Pro-Social Behaviour

The study also indicates that likely different motivations motivate the various forms of pro-social activity. Proactive altruism, for instance, was shown to be often driven by social standing objectives and the desire to be well-liked by peers. Conversely, altruistic pro-social activities were more strongly associated with peer acceptance and fulfilling group objectives. Despite the common perception that all acts of kindness are the same, there is evidence from several fields to demonstrate that there are many varieties. The reasons for their creation allow us to classify them as follows

  • Proactive Behaviour − To be Proactive is to engage in self-serving pro-social behavior.

  • Reactive Behaviour − Reactive conduct occurs when people take care of themselves in response to their needs.

  • Selflessness − Kind deeds done for the benefit of others without consideration for one's reward are examples of selflessness. Being Pre-emptive means doing positive, self-serving acts

Generosity as well as Pro-social Behaviour

Though experts generally agree that generosity falls within the category of pro-social conduct, others have argued that the two ideas are distinct. Kindness is defined as helping another person out of compassion for them rather than for any personal gain, as opposed to pro-social conduct, which is defined as helping another person out of the belief that doing so would benefit oneself in the long run. Others contend that many instances of generosity are motivated by the desire for future benefits or that individuals participate in apparently selfless actions for their benefit. A person may act selflessly for various reasons, including the desire to get praise from others or the satisfaction of doing something positive for the benefit of others.

Ecological factors that shaped evolution

Often use natural selection theory to account for humanitarian actions. Kin selection says aiding members of your genetic family increases the likelihood that they will remain and transmit genetics to future generations, while placing one's safety in jeopardy decreases the likelihood that one would live to pass on one's genes. Some data shows that individuals are more inclined to aid their relatives than strangers.

Importance for oneself

Many people believe that pro-social actions are motivated by a mix of egoistic (doing things to better one's self-image) and reciprocal (doing something good towards someone for they might someday give it back) and altruistic (doing stuff to benefit others) motivations.

Reciprocity Principle

The reciprocity principle states that when one person helps another, the recipient should feel obligated to repay the gesture. Evolutionary psychologists argue that this standard arose because those who helped others and were afterward helped had a higher chance of survival and offspring.

The Adolescence of Childhood

Childhood and adolescence are crucial periods for developing these traits since it is often through the guidance of adult caregivers that children learn to be kind, compassionate, and helpful to others.

Factors that Encourage Helpful Behaviour

Analyzing the bystander effect helped researchers figure out why some consumers aid while others do not. Researchers have identified various contextual factors that either facilitate or impede pro-social actions.

  • Concern over being Judged − People may be reluctant to help others due to shame or the belief that their efforts would be unappreciated. People do nothing because they are afraid of the reactions of onlookers.

  • Repercussions of Other People's Opinions − People frequently turn to others for direction on how to react, especially when faced with uncertain events. In the absence of collective action, people are less inclined to act alone.

  • Lack of Accountability Due to a Lack of Focus − Individuals frequently feel less accountable for their actions when there are more people around. Responsibility is being spread about here.


Researchers have also claimed that action requires the following five conditions. To, one needs to take heed of the current situation. This should be treated as an urgent situation. Feel the weight of your responsibilities. Think they can make a difference and use their abilities. Determine to help others intentionally. Having a personal connection with the person in need, the ability to give aid, and empathy are other variables that may help individuals overcome the bystander effect. Helpful actions can improve the lives of individuals, groups, and even whole civilizations. There are a variety of variables at play when people assist others, but there are also things you could do to foster more selfless conduct. Work on your abilities; Individuals often refrain from helping because they doubt they can make a difference with the knowledge and abilities they already possess. Emulate helpful behavior as a parent; it is important to set a positive example for your kids by doing kind things in front of them. Pro-social actions may motivate others even if you do not have children. Participate in community service or seek out alternative avenues to benefit others. Recognize the value of gestures of generosity. Encourage good deeds in others by letting those Who do them know you have noticed