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Altruism and Social Responsibility in Psychology Essay

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Updated: Jul 5th, 2020


The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate my act of kindness toward other people. The act involved giving gifts of books and warm cloths to children’s home. My act of kindness was based on this assignment. However, I realized that giving to others is a form of individual social responsibility. It gave me a sense of pleasure that I had done something useful for the deprived members of society. Although, my act of kindness was based on the need to meet my assignment expectations, it instilled the desire in me to continue with such acts because of the sense of responsibility and pleasure I derived from it.

The respective roles of altruism, personal and professional social responsibility, and codependency

I have believed in altruism. This is an act of selflessness with no expectation or favors in return (Warneken & Tomasello, 2009). Acts of altruism are authentic and demonstrate selflessness when acting for the benefits of others. On the other hand, personal and professional social responsibility involves actions that benefit a given segment of society.

Codependency shows a relationship of mutual needs. Codependency is an act of emotional and behavioral elements in which a person feels needed by other people with challenges. It is a means of seeking for self-fulfillment outside self.

Based on these observations, it is clear that altruism is not common in people. However, personal and professional social responsibility is often done. The desire to engage in social responsibility may not always be driven by altruism. Instead, it may be an obligation to meet certain needs in society. An individual may engage in codependent acts because of the mutual needs or the desire to fulfill mutual relationships with the other party.

I was engaged in individual social responsibility because of the requirements for this assignment. My acts of kindness were not driven by altruism. Thus, it is evident that acting for others’ good is a rear phenomenon that can hardly be found in people.

Application of altruism to psychology or psychological principles

As previously mentioned, acting in a selfless manner is a rear phenomenon. The field of psychology involves providing care to clients. Psychology professionals, however, are not automatically selflessness or altruists. Psychology best practices stress that professionals should always support their clients’ needs through actions.

Psychological theories, practices and guidelines have been developed over time to ensure that professionals offer the best quality of services for their clients. These elements of psychology have not been formulated to promote self-gain. Instead, they strive to ensure that people can overcome their human development and mental issues. In this regard, acts that suggest altruism clearly support principles of psychology.

How altruism improves the human condition and its limits

When I visited the children’s home and donated books and warm cloths, I felt a sense of goodness. It was a rewarding feeling. From my experience, I noted that children and their caretakers were happy with the gifts and I felt the same. Altruism benefits both parties and in some instances, people who have experienced such acts of kindness may tend to do the same to other people.

It would be better if human conditions can be improved through altruism. Unfortunately, altruism has its limits. For instance, people have failed to donate lifesaving organs to those who need them most and it has been proposed that the power of self-interest could drive some acts of kindness (Cohen, 2005).

Personal and professional responsibilities related to altruism

I believe that people have personal and professional responsibilities to promote altruism. It shows one’s abilities to promote selflessness in society. However, I also recognize that altruism is a difficult concept to achieve (Batson, 2011).

I believe that practicing professionals should demonstrate selflessness to their clients rather than concentrating on personal needs. In this regard, some professionals have embarked on providing services for the public good without any payment. In this case, they promote altruism to underprivileged members of society. At the same time, these professionals must maintain high standards of service and meet needs of their clients in a professional manner even without payment or compensation.

The future of psychology, specifically in relation to altruism in contemporary society

The field of psychology continues to expand as new challenges that require psychological interventions increase. Practicing professionals, however, must act in altruistic manner to meet the needs of diverse clients with different issues. They should rise above self and act in selfless manner. Today, individuals require people who can provide future direction to transform human life. As I have previously mentioned, acts of altruism are rare, but personal and professional responsibilities should promote altruism in society to create the desired changes. The field of psychology should focus on altruism to enhance personal and professional responsibility in society. This can forever change the course of human life.


This assignment has focused on an act of kindness that involved giving gifts to children’s home. To me, the assignment involved demonstrating an act of kindness, which I referred to as individual social responsibility. For this assignment, it was meant to demonstrate altruism. Selflessness is rare, has its limits and it goes beyond certain acts of personal responsibility. However, the discipline of psychology should reinforce it by encouraging personal and professional responsibility. It should generate a sense of self-fulfillment and promote welfare of underprivileged in society. Personal and professional responsibility can greatly encourage altruism and assist in overcoming human challenges.


Batson, C. (2011). Altruism in humans. New York: Oxford University Press.

Cohen, L. R. (2005, August 23). The Limits of Altruism and the Power of Self-Interest. Web.

Warneken, F., & Tomasello, M. (2009). The roots of human altruism. British Journal of Psychology, 100(3), 455–471. Web.

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