Helping behavior

Helping behaviour is considered helping, benefiting, or providing aid to another person. The motivation of the person is not typically considered, only the fact that they are helping another. Helping behaviour should be distinguished from altruistic behaviour, which mandates the helping behaviour be for the wellbeing of the other person, even if it is at cost to the person providing the help.

History of Helping Behaviour

Helping behaviour dates to the ancient Greeks, who believed it was a good moral quality. Plato believed that groups of people should form social contracts that would help them control their own selfish behaviour for the good of other people. Aristotle believed that for the most part, human nature was good, and noted how helping others offers positive feeling for both people involved. Confucius regarded “Jen” (a charity or kindness towards others) as the one of the highest human virtues.


There are several ways to help others, ranging from small random acts of kindness and generosity to helping others on a larger scale. Helping behaviour is typically classified into three different dimensions including: the level of planning and formality, directness of the help offered, and how serious the need.

There are generally thought to be four different types of helping behaviour, which include the following:

Casual Helping: This is doing small favours for friends and acquaintances. Examples could include paying a person’s expired meter or letting someone borrow your phone for a quick call.

Personal Helping: This involves putting in an extended effort to help someone over a period of time. Examples could include helping someone move or letting a friend or family member live with you when they are displaced.

Emotional Helping: This is offering support and care to someone who needs emotional supports. Examples include listening to a friend’s problems or offering advice to someone who needs it.

Emergency Helping: This is offering help when someone has a serious problem. Examples include rushing someone to the hospital in an emergency or calling emergency help when witnessing an accident.

Helping Behaviour FAQ

Why do people help others?

This is perhaps the most commonly asked question about helping behaviour. Three theories on helping behaviour include natural explanations (evolutionary and genetic), cultural approaches (cultural and social learning), and psychological or individual level helping.

What is reciprocity?

Reciprocity suggests that if someone does something good for you, you are more likely to do something good for them. This form of helping behaviour leads people to do things for others that have done things for them in the past.

Do people help others out of guilt?

Yes. There are several instances people exhibit helping behaviour out of guilt or shame for not fulfilling expected social obligations. They may also fear disapproval from others if they do not offer to help in certain situation.

Are women more helpful than men?

Studies in social psychology shown that men and women help equally. While they may help in different situations, such as men moving heavy objects or women offering supportive advice, there is no evidence that women are generally more helpful than men.

External Links

Helping behaviour, Wikipedia

Helping Behavior, Psychology at IResearchNet

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