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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2011 Jul;37(7):905-17. doi: 10.1177/0146167211405994. Epub 2011 Apr 26.

Highlighting relatedness promotes prosocial motives and behavior.

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Kingston University London, Penrhyn Road, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 2EE, UK.


According to self-determination theory, people have three basic psychological needs: relatedness, competence, and autonomy. Of these, the authors reasoned that relatedness need satisfaction is particularly important for promoting prosocial behavior because of the increased sense of connectedness to others that this engenders. In Experiment 1, the authors manipulated relatedness, autonomy, competence, or gave participants a neutral task, and found that highlighting relatedness led to higher interest in volunteering and intentions to volunteer relative to the other conditions. Experiment 2 found that writing about relatedness experiences promoted feelings of connectedness to others, which in turn predicted greater prosocial intentions. Experiment 3 found that relatedness manipulation participants donated significantly more money to charity than did participants given a neutral task. The results suggest that highlighting relatedness increases engagement in prosocial activities and are discussed in relation to the conflict and compatibility between individual and social outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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