Altruism and Aggression: Social and Biological Origins

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Carolyn Zahn-Waxler, E. Mark Cummings, Ronald J. Iannotti
Cambridge University Press, Jul 26, 1991 - Psychology - 337 pages
In this timely collection, biological and behavioral scientists address questions emerging from new research about the origins and interconnections of altruism and aggression within and across species. They explore the genetic underpinnings of affiliative and aggressive orientations as well as the biological correlates of these behaviors. They consider environmental variables--family patterns, childrearing practices--that influence prosocial and antisocial behaviors. And they examine internal processes such as empathy, socio-inferential abilities, and cognitive attributions, that regulate "kindness" and "selfishness." The first section focuses on biological, sociobiological, and ethological approaches. It explores the utility of animal models for understanding both human and infrahuman social behavior. The second section focuses on the development, socialization, and mediation of altruism and aggression in children. Several concerns underly both sections. These include the role of attachment processes, separation distress, reciprocal interchanges, and social play in determining the quantity and quality of aggressive and affiliative interactions; the function of emotions (e.g. empathy, guilt, and anger) as instigators of altruism and aggression; and the nature of sex differences. Several chapters present data on emotions that mediate altruism and aggression and also on patterns of association between prosocial and antisocial behaviors. The authors take an ethological perspective, placing special importance on the need to explore altruism and aggression in the real lives and natural habitats of humans and other animals.

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The psychobiology of prosocial behaviors separation distress play and altruism
An evolutionary and developmental perspective on aggressive patterns
Development in reciprocity through friendship
The prosocial and antisocial functions of preschool aggression an ethological study of triadic conflict among young children
A conception of the determinants and development of altruism and aggression motives the self and the environment
Early organization of altruism and aggression developmental patterns and individual differences
Aggression and altruism a personality perspective
The socialization of prosocial behavior theory and reality
Socialinteractional patterns in families of abused and nonabused children
Naturalistic observation of cooperation helping and sharing and their associations with empathy and affect
Social informationprocessing variables in the development of aggression and altruism in children
lessons from the past and a look to the future
Index of names
Index of subjects

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