What motivates people to stop and help others that they didn’t previously know, with no apparent benefit to themselves?
Traditionally, we’ve viewed people who engage in prosocial behavior — that is, voluntary acts performed to benefit others or society as a whole — as being motivated by moral character or spiritual beliefs. But in recent years, increasing evidence has emerged to suggest that the tendency to be a do-gooder may be influenced by genes.
In a newly-published study in the journal Social Neuroscience, for example, researchers found that a single variation in a genotype seems to affect whether or not a person engages in prosocial acts. Individuals who have one variation of the genotype have a tendency toward social anxiety — that is, unease around other people, and are less inclined to help others in ways that involve personal interaction.
Read the full, original story here: Is Being a Good Samaritan a Matter of Genes?
- “It’s nature, not nurture: personality lies in genes, twins study shows,” The Telegraph
- “Good Genes: How Science Helped the Samaritans Find Their Roots,” Boing Boing
- “ Is creative ability determined by our DNA?” Genetic Literacy Project