Empathy-Altruism Theory

The Empathy-Altruism Theory is an explanation of why helping behavior occurs. This theory states that empathy (the ability to understand another’s feelings and put yourself in their situation) leads to helpfulness in individuals.

Helping behaviors occur because a person experiences another’s emotional state, feels sympathy for them, and wants to eliminate their emotional suffering. This is called empathic concern. This theory goes against some theories of helping behavior in that it doesn’t take into account a cost-benefit analysis of the helping scenario. Studies have shown that if a person feels empathy for a person they will help them even if it affects them in a negative way.