Varieties of altruism in children and chimpanzees.


Journal Article (Review)

Recent empirical research has shed new light on the perennial question of human altruism. A number of recent studies suggest that from very early in ontogeny young children have a biological predisposition to help others achieve their goals, to share resources with others and to inform others of things helpfully. Humans' nearest primate relatives, such as chimpanzees, engage in some but not all of these behaviors: they help others instrumentally, but they are not so inclined to share resources altruistically and they do not inform others of things helpfully. The evolutionary roots of human altruism thus appear to be much more complex than previously supposed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Warneken, F; Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • September 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 397 - 402

PubMed ID

  • 19716750

Pubmed Central ID

  • 19716750

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-307X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1364-6613

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.tics.2009.06.008


  • eng