Altruism Sociology Definition


Altruism is a person’s selfless compassion for others. It involves doing action only out of a desire to assist rather than because of a sense of duty, loyalty, or religious obligation. It entails taking action out of concern for the welfare of others.

The French philosopher Auguste Comte popularized “altruism” as an antithesis to egoism.   He got it from the Latin alteri, which came from the Italian altrui, which means “other people” or “someone else.”


One facet of what is referred to as prosocial conduct is altruism. Any activity that helps others, regardless of the motivation or the way the provider gains from the behavior, is referred to as prosocial behavior. Egoistic or selfish behavior is often contrasted against altruistic behavior.

Interactions and connections with others greatly influence altruistic conduct, and socialization may significantly affect it in early childhood. The laws, expectations, and conventions of society may also affect whether or not individuals act altruistically. For instance, the norm of reciprocity is a social expectation in which individuals feel obligated to assist others if they have previously helped us.

The brain’s reward regions are triggered by altruistic activities. According to neurobiologists, those who behave altruistically have increased activity in their brain’s pleasure regions. Altruistic behaviors are then reinforced by the good sensations generated by acts of compassion.

According to research studies, volunteering individuals have higher overall health than others, and their generous actions are associated with a much-reduced death rate. According to research, feeling good about oneself increases when one does good for others.

Altruism Types

Altruistic conduct may take many different forms, according to psychologists. These consist of:

Genetic altruism: As the name implies, this kind of altruism entails doing good deeds for members of one’s own family. For instance, parents and other family members often make sacrifices to meet the demands of their loved ones.

 Reciprocal altruism refers to actions in which social actions are mutually beneficial to both parties. It entails aiding someone now in hopes that they may be able to repay the favor later.

Group-selected altruism: This entails acts of altruism for individuals depending on their membership in a particular group. People may focus their efforts on supporting social initiatives that benefit a specific group or assisting members of their social group.

Pure altruism, sometimes called moral altruistic activity, is the act of doing good deeds without expecting anything in return. Internalized principles and ideals serve as its driving forces.


An individual helping someone else without expecting anything in return is an example. Even in times of shortage, sharing financial resources is advocated.

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