Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 February 2021
The study of prosocial behavior has been an active area of research in social psychology that dates back to the beginnings of the last century. (For a review see Penner et al., 2005,) This large body of literature includes a diverse range of phenomena centering around the origins and tendencies of humans helping other humans, including traits such as empathy. In psychology the term “prosocial behavior” is typically used to indicate a behavior that provides benefit to another person. However, this same term, and all that it implies, has been increasingly applied to nonhuman vertebrate animal behavior and the neural mechanisms regulating these behaviors. It is within this latter context that the term prosocial has been used rather loosely with no clear definitions provided.
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