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Prosocial Reasoning

Prosocial Reasoning

Book Title

Essays in Developmental Psychology

Document Type


Publication Date



Randall Summers, Charles Golden, Lisa Lashley, & Erica Ailes


altruism, emotional tendencies, moral-cognitive processes, prosocial behavior, prosocial reasoning, social learning theory



Prosocial behavior is best described as a general range of actions that are intended to benefit individuals other than one’s self. Some of these prosocial actions include helping, comforting, and sharing with others (Batson & Powell, 2003). More specifically, prosocial behavior is better understood as one’s voluntary action that is solely meant to benefit others. Prosocial reasoning is the motivating influences for an individual to engage in a prosocial behavior. Some research suggests that reasoning behind prosocial behavior is a motivation toward altruism, a principle in which one individual is selfless and engages in behaviors that help others, despite personal gain. Therefore, a potential reason for someone to engage in prosocial behavior may be to become more altruistic.

Additional Information

This is one in a collection of essays as part of a project that began as an encyclopedia of developmental psychology coordinated by Dr. Randall Summers. However, for unforeseen reasons, the publisher was no longer in a position to publish the encyclopedia. This project was undertaken so that thousands of hours of work by psychologists would not go wasted. Enjoy these essays and feel free to cite them using the proper format.

Submit suggestions for corrections and topics to goldench@nova.edu.




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Prosocial Reasoning