Altruistic Helping in Human Infants and Young Chimpanzees

  title={Altruistic Helping in Human Infants and Young Chimpanzees},
  author={Felix Warneken and Michael Tomasello},
  pages={1301 - 1303}
Human beings routinely help others to achieve their goals, even when the helper receives no immediate benefit and the person helped is a stranger. Such altruistic behaviors (toward non-kin) are extremely rare evolutionarily, with some theorists even proposing that they are uniquely human. Here we show that human children as young as 18 months of age (prelinguistic or just-linguistic) quite readily help others to achieve their goals in a variety of different situations. This requires both an… 

Varieties of altruism in children and chimpanzees

The roots of human altruism.

The results suggest that human infants are naturally altruistic, and as ontogeny proceeds and they must deal more independently with a wider range of social contexts, socialization and feedback from social interactions with others become important mediators of these initial altruistic tendencies.

Spontaneous Altruism by Chimpanzees and Young Children

Experimental evidence that chimpanzees perform basic forms of helping in the absence of rewards spontaneously and repeatedly toward humans and conspecifics is reported, indicating that chimpanzees share crucial aspects of altruism with humans and suggesting that the roots of human altruism may go deeper than previous experimental evidence suggested.

The Development of Altruistic Behavior: Helping in Children and Chimpanzees

Recent work with young children and chimpanzees is presented to entertain the possibility that human altruism is not due to cultural practices alone, but reflects a biological predisposition that the authors might share with their closest evolutionary relatives.

Paternalism in chimpanzees : do chimpanzees help conspecifics by giving them what they want or by responding to what they need?

Findings provide some evidence that chimpanzees are not merely motivated to complete action sequences but actually respond to the need of others’, and the phylogenetic roots of genuine prosocial behavior may run deeper than previously assumed.

The nature of prosociality in chimpanzees

Two studies are reported that separate by-product from intended helping in chimpanzees using a GO/NO-GO paradigm and find no evidence for helping—chimpanzees engaged in the test regardless of the effects on their partners.

Animal behaviour Helping behaviour and regard for others in capuchin monkeys ( Cebus apella )

Testing the conditions under which primates more distantly related to humans—capuchin monkeys—help an experimenter to obtain an out-of-reach object suggests an important role for perspective taking and inhibition in altruistic behaviour and reflects a significant evolutionary development in the roots of altruism, and specifically in other-regarding behaviour, between the divergence of New World monkeys and apes.

Chimpanzees ’ fl exible targeted helping based on an understanding of conspeci fi cs ’ goals

The results suggest that the limitation in chimpanzees’ voluntary helping is not necessarily due to failure in understanding others’ goals, as long as they are able to visually evaluate their conspecifics’ predicament.

How did altruism and reciprocity evolve in humans?: Perspectives from experiments on chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes )

Two characteristics of prosociality in chimpanzees emerged: (1) chimpanzees are more likely to behave altruistically and/or reciprocally upon a recipient’s request, than without request, and (2) chimpanzees also show a tendency to regard others and help in contexts not involving food.



Chimpanzees are indifferent to the welfare of unrelated group members

Experimental tests of the existence of other-regarding preferences in non-human primates are presented and it is shown that chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) do not take advantage of opportunities to deliver benefits to familiar individuals at no material cost to themselves, suggesting that chimpanzee behaviour is not motivated by other- Regarding preferences.

What's in it for me? Self-regard precludes altruism and spite in chimpanzees

The main result across all studies was that chimpanzees made their choices based solely on personal gain, with no regard for the outcomes of a conspecific.

The nature of human altruism

Current gene-based evolutionary theories cannot explain important patterns of human altruism, pointing towards the importance of both theories of cultural evolution as well as gene–culture co-evolution.

Give unto others: genetically unrelated cotton-top tamarin monkeys preferentially give food to those who altruistically give food back

Overall, results show that tamarins altruistically give food to genetically unrelated conspecifics, discriminate between altruistic and selfish actions, and give more food to those who give food back.

Little Children's Participation in the Work of Adults, a Nascent Prosocial Behavior.

RHEINGOLD, HARRIET L. Little Children's Participation in the Work of Adults, a Nascent Prosocial Behavior. CHILD DEVELOPMENT, 1982, 53, 114-125. 2 studies explored the possibility that a set of

Empathy in chimpanzees: Evidence for theory of mind?

From this preliminary analysis it seems the chimpanzees may be capable of showing empathy across a wide range of circumstances.

The biology of moral systems

The author argues that the ultimate interests of humans are reproductive, and that the concept of morality has arisen within groups because of its contribution to unity in the context, ultimately, of success in intergroup competition.

Development of concern for others.

The development of prosocial and reparative bebaviors was investigated by examining children's responses to distresses they caused and those they witnessed in others during the 2nd year of life.