12.3: Helping Others Prosocial behavior: any behavior that benefits another person Altruism: prosocial behavior, such as helping and sharing, in which the individual does not benefits directly from hisher behavior. altruism is driven by feelings of responsibility for other people. (ex: two youngsters pooling their funds to buy a candy bar to share demonstrates cooperative behavior. One youngster giving half her lunch to a friend who forgot his own lunch demonstrates altruism) many scientists believe that humans are biologically predisposed to be helpful, to share, to cooperate, and to be concerned for others people who frequently help others are more likely to receive help themselves, and this increases the chance that theyll pass along their genes to future generations 1. DEVELOPMENTOFPROSOCIALBEHAVIOR:At what age do children begin to act prosocially? How does prosocial behavior change with age? Simple acts of altruism can be seen by 18 MONTHS OFAGE when toddlers and preschoolers see other people who are obviously hurt or upset, they appear concerned. their sympathetic nervous system is activated, which is a common byproduct of experiencing distressing or threatening events like the child in the photo, they try to comfort the person by hugging him or patting him at this early age, children recognize signs of distress if an adults in obvious need of help a teacher accidently drops markers on a floor most 18month olds spontaneously help get the markers. during the toddler and preschool years, children gradually begin to understand others needs and learn more appropriate altruistic responses when 3year old Alexis sees her father trying, unsuccessfully, to get her mothers attention, she may poke her mom to get her attention and then point to her father these early attempts at altruistic behavior often are limited because young childrens knowledge of what they can do to help is modest. As youngsters acquire more strategies to help others, their preferred strategies become more adult like. not all children respond to the needs of others, either in toddlerhood or at later ages some children tend to look out for their own interests 2. SKILLS UNDERLYING PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR: What skills do children need to behave prosocially?