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Distinct mental trainings differentially affect altruistically motivated, norm motivated, and self-reported prosocial behaviour

Böckler, Anne and Tusche, Anita and Schmidt, Peter and Singer, Tania (2018) Distinct mental trainings differentially affect altruistically motivated, norm motivated, and self-reported prosocial behaviour. Scientific Reports, 8 . Art. No. 13560. ISSN 2045-2322. PMCID PMC6131389. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-31813-8.

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Global challenges such as climate change or the refugee crises emphasize the necessity of altruism and cooperation. In a large-scale 9-month intervention study, we investigated the malleability of prosociality by three distinct mental trainings cultivating attention, socio-affective, or socio-cognitive skills. We assessed numerous established measures of prosociality that capture three core facets: Altruistically motivated behaviours, norm motivated behaviours, and self-reported prosociality. Results of multiple time point confirmatory factor analyses support the validity and temporal stability of this model. Furthermore, linear mixed effects models reveal differential effects of mental trainings on the subcomponents of prosociality: Only training care and compassion effectively boosted altruistically motivated behaviour. No effects were revealed for norm-based behaviour. Self-reported prosociality increased with all training modules; this increase was, however, unrelated to changes in task-based measures of altruistic behaviour. These findings corroborate our motivation-based framework of prosociality, challenge economic views of fixed preferences by showing that socio-affective training boosts altruism, and inform policy makers and society about how to increase global cooperation.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Tusche, Anita0000-0003-4180-8447
Singer, Tania0000-0002-4438-5374
Additional Information:© 2018 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit Received: 19 March 2018. Accepted: 21 August 2018. Published online: 10 September 2018. Tania Singer, as principal investigator, received funding for the ReSource Project from a) the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013/ERC Grant Agreement Number 205557 to T.S.), and b) from the Max Planck Society. We are thankful to all the members of the Department of Social Neuroscience involved in the ReSource study over the many years, in particular to all ReSource teachers that taught the intervention program, to the many assistants who helped assess the data, and to Astrid Ackermann, Christina Bochow, Matthias Bolz, and Sandra Zurborg for managing the large-scale longitudinal study, to Hannes Niederhausen, Henrik Grunert, and Torsten Kästner for their technical support, and to Sylvia Tydeks, Elisabeth Murzick, Manuela Hofmann, Sylvie Neubert, and Nicole Pampus for their help with recruitment and data collection. Author Contributions: T.S. initiated and developed the ReSource Project, model, and training protocol. A.B., A.T., and T.S. developed the experiments. A.B. collected the data, A.B., A.T., and P.S. analyzed the data. All authors contributed to writing the paper and approved the final version of the manuscript for submission. Data Availability: The datasets generated and analysed during the current study are available at request for replication purposes and after signing a data sharing agreement. The authors declare no competing interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Research Council (ERC)205557
Max Planck SocietyUNSPECIFIED
PubMed Central ID:PMC6131389
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180917-125104104
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:89680
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:17 Sep 2018 20:53
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 00:37

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