Title

Self-Control and Altruism

Publication Title

APA Handbook of Behavior Analysis, Volume 1, Methods and Principles

Publication Date

2013

Document Type

Book Chapter

DOI

dx.doi.org/10.1037/13937-020

Keywords

Self-control, altruism, impulse, economic view, teleological behaviorism, delay discounting, hyperbolic delay discounting, social discounting

Disciplines

Applied Behavior Analysis | Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Psychology | Social Psychology

Abstract

Self-control and altruism are both dimensions of choice. When a person chooses a distant or temporally extended reward such as good health over a relatively closer and temporally constricted reward such as smoking a cigarette, the person’s act is said to be self-controlled rather than impulsive. Correspondingly, when a person chooses a reward for another person or a group of other people at a cost to him- or herself, as when giving anonymously to charity, the person is said to be behaving altruistically rather than selfishly. Our main purpose in this chapter is to compare these two dimensions of behavior—to show how they are and are not analogous. We make this comparison in two conceptual contexts: the economic view and teleological behaviorism.

Publisher

American Psychological Association

Publisher Location

Washington, DC

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