Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Indirect Benefits of Altruism

  • Daniel Farrelly
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3477-1



The different benefits gained by altruists that are received from individuals other than the original recipients of the act.


Traditionally, two theories have mainly been used to explain how altruistic behaviors between organisms can be adaptive, and these are kin selection theory where individuals aid those with which they share a number of genes (Hamilton 1964) and reciprocal altruism where individuals aid others who can and will return the favor in the future (Trivers 1971). These have been mostly adequate in explaining a vast amount of altruism, particularly in nonhuman animals. However, when it comes to humans, there exist a number of examples of altruistic behaviors that neither genetic relatedness or reciprocity can explain. These include giving to various charities (e.g., overseas causes, animal sanctuaries), donating blood or bone marrow, and risking personal safety to save others (e.g., rescuing a...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WorcesterWorcesterUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin Kniffin
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA