Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Internal mechanisms that implicate the self enlighten the egoism-altruism debate

Constantine Sedikides a1 and Aiden P. Gregg a1
a1 Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, Highfield Campus, Southampton SO17 1BJ, England, United Kingdom [email protected]


Internal mechanisms, especially those implicating the self, are crucial for the egoism-altruism debate. Self-liking is extended to close others and can be extended, through socialization and reinforcement experiences, to non-close others: Altruistic responses are directed toward others who are included in the self. The process of self-extension can account for cross-situational variability, contextual variability, and individual differences in altruistic behavior.