Angels or Wolves to One Another? What Makes Us Prosocial, or Otherwise?

Saturday, February 18, 2017: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room 306 (Hynes Convention Center)
A perception of constant threat from terrorist attacks worldwide, could lead us to doubt Ovid's thought that "man is not a wolf to his fellow man, but a man." In this context, this session explores current psychological research on prosocial behavior, which is vital for the successful functioning of our societies. Speakers will present scientific evidence on the evolutionary triggers for prosocial versus selfish behavior in our contemporary urban social environment, and discuss the key factors that may help create social cohesion and long-term affectual bonds. Given that adolescence is a critical period in life, the panel will present ongoing studies on how typical emotional reactivity in adolescents can lead to prosocial developmental behavior, or to potentially negative developmental trajectories. Speakers will also look at the mechanisms behind decisions in social contexts: What makes us decide to trust, help, or to cooperate with others? How do we decide that certain behaviors are fair? How do social norms affect our decisions in social contexts? The purpose of this session is to present scientific evidence on prosocial development that could guide policymaking and programs to support youth.
Pilar Lacruz, European Research Council Executive Agency
Piotr Kwiecinski, European Research Council Executive Agency
Pilar Lacruz, European Research Council Executive Agency
Robin Dunbar, University of Oxford
Evolutionary Bases of Prosociality
Eveline Crone, Leiden University
Prosocial Brain in Adolescence
Alan Sanfey, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behavior 
What Makes Us Decide to Trust or Cooperate with Others