What is it about?

For decades, social scientists have studied whether exposing individuals to examples of others' good deeds and acts of kindness inspires and motivates individuals to help others. This paper reviews all of the research on this topic.

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Why is it important?

Parents, teachers, and various kinds of media use examples of others' good deeds and generosity as a tool to encourage children and adults to be good citizens and develop a sense of morality. This paper identifies when it is most effective to highlight examples of others' generosity as way to foster helping behavior in individuals who witness those examples.


This was the first paper to comprehensively review all of the research on the topic of prosocial models. We learned a lot about the abundance of research on this topic but also about how many questions still remain unanswered on this topic.

Marlone Henderson
University of Texas at Austin

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This page is a summary of: Prosocial modeling: A meta-analytic review and synthesis., Psychological Bulletin, August 2020, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/bul0000235.
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