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Special Issue "The Facets of Altruism and Their Implications for Individual and Collective Wellbeing"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Mental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Sabine Windmann
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University Frankfurt, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany
Interests: altruism; prosocial motivation; cooperation; economic games; sustainability; ecological behavior; dissociations of subjective and objective perspectives; bottom-up versus top-down processing; illusions, false memories; decision biases and heuristics; consciousness

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Altruism is selfless behavior that benefits others. Caring for the wellbeing of others does not come without costs, be it in the form of time, money, energy, information, or organ donation. Unlike prosocial behavior and cooperation, which aim at creating benefits for all, including oneself, altruism is purely other-oriented in its most genuine form. Arguably, this distinction may be crucial when it comes to the world’s most challenging problems, including mass migration and climate change whose solutions are likely to incur costs to people and societies here and now while benefiting unknown others or future generations.

This Special Issue is concerned with the forms of altruism that may exist, their relation to each other on the one hand, and to prosociality and morality on the other. We will explore from a multidisciplinary perspective both the caring and confrontational forms of altruism, their underlying personality traits, and affective-motivational state variables as well as prioritized context conditions. We will elucidate the cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms underlying these various forms as well as their psychological effects at the individual, group (corporate), and societal levels. Multiple methods of assessment will be demonstrated, and ethical, ecological, and political implications will be discussed.

If you wish to submit a contribution, please refer in your manuscript to the definitions and conceptualizations given in the present summary.

Prof. Dr. Sabine Windmann
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • helping
  • costly punishment
  • social courage
  • civic mindedness
  • whistleblowing
  • fairness
  • ethics
  • ecological behavior
  • evolutionary origins
  • reciprocity

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Effects of Message Framing, Sender Authority, and Recipients’ Self-Reported Trait Autonomy on Endorsement of Health and Safety Measures during the Early COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 7740; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157740 - 21 Jul 2021
Viewed by 260
Abstract
In the COVID-19 pandemic, human solidarity plays a crucial role in meeting this maybe greatest modern societal challenge. Public health communication targets enhancing collective compliance with protective health and safety regulations. Here, we asked whether authoritarian/controlling message framing as compared to a neutral [...] Read more.
In the COVID-19 pandemic, human solidarity plays a crucial role in meeting this maybe greatest modern societal challenge. Public health communication targets enhancing collective compliance with protective health and safety regulations. Here, we asked whether authoritarian/controlling message framing as compared to a neutral message framing may be more effective than moralizing/prosocial message framing and whether recipients’ self-rated trait autonomy might lessen these effects. In a German sample (n = 708), we measured approval of seven regulations (e.g., reducing contact, wearing a mask) before and after presenting one of three Twitter messages (authoritarian, moralizing, neutral/control) presented by either a high-authority sender (state secretary) or a low-authority sender (social worker). We found that overall, the messages successfully increased participants’ endorsement of the regulations, but only weakly so because of ceiling effects. Highly autonomous participants showed more consistent responses across the two measurements, i.e., lower response shifting, in line with the concept of reactive autonomy. Specifically, when the sender was a social worker, response shifting correlated negatively with trait autonomy. We suggest that a trusted sender encourages more variable responses to imposed societal regulations in individuals low in autonomy, and we discuss several aspects that may improve health communication. Full article
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Article
Between Joy and Sympathy: Smiling and Sad Recipient Faces Increase Prosocial Behavior in the Dictator Game
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 6172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18116172 - 07 Jun 2021
Viewed by 668
Abstract
In human interactions, the facial expression of a bargaining partner may contain relevant information that affects prosocial decisions. We were interested in whether facial expressions of the recipient in the dictator game influence dictators’ behavior. To test this, we conducted an online study [...] Read more.
In human interactions, the facial expression of a bargaining partner may contain relevant information that affects prosocial decisions. We were interested in whether facial expressions of the recipient in the dictator game influence dictators’ behavior. To test this, we conducted an online study (n = 106) based on a modified version of a dictator game. The dictators allocated money between themselves and another person (recipient), who had no possibility to respond to the dictator. Importantly, before the allocation decision, the dictator was presented with the facial expression of the recipient (angry, disgusted, sad, smiling, or neutral). The results showed that dictators sent more money to recipients with sad or smiling facial expressions and less to recipients with angry or disgusted facial expressions compared with a neutral facial expression. Moreover, based on the sequential analysis of the decision and the interaction partner in the preceding trial, we found that decision-making depends upon previous interactions. Full article
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