J.P. Rushton’s contributions to the study of altruism


Please cite this article in press as: Hur, Y.-M. J dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2012.05.016 This essay describes Rushton’s work on altruism over the past 40 years. During his academic career, he changed his theoretical approach from social learning theory to trait theory to sociobiology. My essay includes five sections. The first gives an overview of Rushton’s work on altruism. The second reviews his early work based on social learning theory. His laboratory and naturalistic experiments led him to conclude that altruism could be increased by exposure to models exemplifying the behavior, and that, once engaged in, the behavior could be durable over months and generalizable across situations. The third section discusses his work on the genetic foundation of altruism with social biology including his twin studies of prosocial behaviors using different age groups of both western and Asian samples. He concluded that about 50% of the variance in prosocial behaviors is heritable. The fourth section will describe altruism as part of the general factor of personality, the apex of the personality hierarchy. The last section summarizes my review of Rushton’s work on altruism. 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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@inproceedings{Hur2012JPRC, title={J.P. Rushton’s contributions to the study of altruism}, author={Yoon-Mi Hur}, year={2012} }