Why Do We Help Others In Our Society?

Prosocial behavior is basically voluntary helping behavior that is displayed without any wish or perspective of return, the main reason behind this is to evoke the sense of help as a whole in the society. Some of the main prosocial behaviors include helping, sharing, donating and other voluntary practices that help in improving the society. The reasons according to psychology are more than just contributing to the welfare of society, sometimes the reason is that we want to fit in the society other times we want people to think highly of us, sometimes even if the individual is conforming with the society it is still referred as prosocial behavior. The term prosocial was introduced as an opposite of antisocial behavior (Bellen, 2015).

Reasons behind prosocial behavior

  • Selfless reasons

The reason these prosocial behaviors are getting more in society is due to the fact they are appreciated more, the individual feel motivated by the empathy and concern that evoke when he someone in pain or in need of help. While talking about selfless reasons there is a term altruism that people may want to act in pro social ways because they are only concerned about the welfare of society, the percentage of people exhibiting selfless reasons is relatively very low but there is a likely chance to enhance this by using motivation in society (Nellenion, 2016).

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Abdul Sattar Edhi, the world’s greatest humanitarian.     Kufarooq

Abdul Sattar Edhi and mother Tressa are one of the biggest examples of selfless prosocial behavior. Their goal was to help the society in a flourishing and becoming better. There was no reason other than the fact that they want to help the society, we are more likely to help people who belong to our group than other groups, and in this case, they had only one criterion that made them in-group or out-group, and the criteria were humanity.

  • Selfish reasons

Sometimes the reason we are helping others may include some of our selfish reasons, it can be because of egoistic or some practical concerns, these selfish reasons may include maintenance of social status and reputation in society.




Politicians near elections try to become more prosocial, they work for the people more, they come up with better strategies to help other but there is a hidden reason for that. Their focus is to get the vote and win the elections. This type of prosocial behavior is driven by selfish reasons, it is very less likely to motivate the society in becoming better.

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  • Effect of culture

Culture plays an important role in religion and upbringing if an individual is raised in a culture where it is preferred to stay put and not interact with anyone at all, it is likely that the individual find it justified and start to behave the same. People who are raised in western culture are taught the art of self-love, they are taught that if you have money make sure your own needs come first and if they are fulfilled you can help others. So, in case people have money more than they need, they plan adventures are holidays at an exotic location, all these things are ignored in the cultures where it is important to come up with a way to help others more. In Muslim cultures like Middle Eastern countries and Asian countries, it is considered better to help others more than just being helped. This is the reason people in Arab countries are shy in receiving help and more convinced to help others (Bellen, 2015).

  • Effect of upbringing

Prosocial behavior can be incorporated into the society if the children are raised by introducing the prosocial behavior at a very early age, not only this but if they are motivated to help others are getting involved in prosocial behaviors there is a likely chance they grow up to become more helpful and better are empathizing with people. Usually, if an individual has a problem or have ever gone through a trouble he is more likely to empathize better with everyone and this is one of the major factors to have more prosocial behaviors. If parents try to convince their kids to display prosocial behaviors it will be very easy for them to make it a part of their life, on the other hand, if it was never the part of their upbringing they will not empathize with anyone and later it will become their habit (Nellenion, 2016).

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Abdul Sattar Edhi explained in an interview that he was given two pennies by his mother. The rule was to use one and donate the other to the needy. This was the key factor that convinced him to work later. Another important thing that helped him empathize with people more was the fact that he at a very young age started taking care of his ill mother, this is one of the reasons he came up with specifically ambulance service. Later, he incorporated the same selfless prosocial behavior in his children. In an interview with his son, his son Faisal explain, I was never given a cycle, although I wanted to buy one when I was a kid and when I insisted, again and again, I was told my father, that he cannot buy me a cycle as I was not the only kid, there were 400 other kids under his care, the day he will afford a cycle for them he will buy him a cycle too. This is the reason childhood training is very important in increasing prosocial behaviors.



  • Effect of religion

The religious point of view is also very important. Islam has focused on feeding the poor and helping others more than any other religion. Children are raised with this mentality that there is a need for prosocial behaviors in society and it is very important for them to start it now more than ever. This is one of the reason in Ramadan everyone donates more money because not only it is the teaching of religion but also at that time the whole society is doing the same.

Every religion in the world preaches pro-social behavior for society.   Bahai Teachings

There are people who take part in prosocial behaviors because they want to fit in according to the requirement of the society but religion is defiantly a factor. This is one of the reasons Muslim countries donate more than non-Muslim countries, even if they are not rich enough or don’t have much, there is a likely chance religion will inspire the individual to give regardless of all these factors (Bellen, 2015). It is the part of our religion to facilitate others when you are happy. Like for instance if you are blessed with a baby or you get promoted and you decide to celebrate the target is to give people who are under privileged and who don’t have much, not only this but it also includes people who are your relative and friends. This is the reason it is preferred to help a family member first, as a part of the charity.

  • Developing prosocial behaviors by media

Using mass media to come up with motivation advertisement and programs that convince you to help others is a trend now. In Ramadhan almost all the brands launch their ad campaign around the same thing, their focus is a help, how to help an individual or how their brand is coming up to help others. This way they not only convince people to help but convince the brand user that they are helping others too. A research was conducted focusing mainly on the effect of video games on the behavior of children. The research was conducted by silver and Williamson, they discovered that if a kid is more exposed to violent content, he is more likely to get aroused easily, similarly kids who watch violent cartoons have the same effect on their personality.

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They also discovered that kids who kids who played violent video games before playing were more likely to get angry, similarly those who watched television before playing games were likely to exhibit prosocial behaviors more than others (Nellenion, 2016). Pepsi launched an advertisement where they claimed to introduce tube lights and roadside lights installment in various cities of Pakistan, it was introduced using the fact that Ramadhan was in summers and people were trying to get rid of load shedding, it was perfect to attract the consumers as well as motivate them for helpful behavior. The advertisement campaign of surf excel revolves around mainly the same helpful behavior, they use kids to help the elderly people, by this they are targeting the brought up of the kids and motivating them to develop prosocial behaviors.


Featured Image Credits: Medella Healthcare

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