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Can altruism be understood in terms of socially-discounted extrinsic reinforcement?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 March 2003

Randolph C. Grace
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealandr.grace@psyc.canterbury.ac.nza.mclean@psyc.canterbury.ac.nzo.bragason@psyc.canterbury.ac.nz http://www.canterbury.ac.nz
Anthony McLean
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealandr.grace@psyc.canterbury.ac.nza.mclean@psyc.canterbury.ac.nzo.bragason@psyc.canterbury.ac.nz http://www.canterbury.ac.nz
Orn Bragason
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealandr.grace@psyc.canterbury.ac.nza.mclean@psyc.canterbury.ac.nzo.bragason@psyc.canterbury.ac.nz http://www.canterbury.ac.nz

Abstract

Altruism can be understood in terms of traditional principles of reinforcement if an outcome that is beneficial to another person reinforces the behavior of the actor who produces it. This account depends on a generalization of reinforcement across persons and might be more amenable to experimental investigation than the one proposed by Rachlin.

Type
Brief Report
Copyright
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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