Human prosociality in altruism niche

Ryo Oda*, Kai Hiraishi, Yasuyuki Fukukawa, Akiko Matsumoto-Oda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Possible effects of external and internal factors affecting prosociality in Japanese undergraduates were investigated. We employed social support as an external factor and helping norms, self-consciousness, other-consciousness, self-esteem, and religious attitude as internal factors. Prosociality toward friends/acquaintances was significantly positively correlated with social support from siblings, social support from friends/acquaintances, self-sacrifice norms, and private self-consciousness, whereas prosociality toward strangers was significantly positively correlated with social support from mothers, private self-consciousness, and self-esteem but negatively correlated with social support from siblings. The results support claims of an altruism niche that rest on the assumption that prosociality can be maintained only in an environment or a society in which altruistic acts are rewarded. Among the internal factors, private self-consciousness was the only factor found to correlate with both aspects of prosociality. Higher scores on private selfconsciousness were related to irrational altruism, making people less susceptible to the features of particular situations and, consequently, producing reputational benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-293
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec 1


  • altruism
  • prosociality
  • self-consciousness
  • social niche
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Anthropology


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