How Altruistic Are YOU?

Have you ever wondered why helping someone feels good?  Or why you feel that psychological urge to help somebody even when you aren’t expected to?

Take a moment and think back to an instance when you helped someone and expected nothing in return.  Maybe it was giving directions and information to someone who was lost, or giving up your seat on a bus or train, or lending a hand to someone who was clearly in need.  Remember that brief positive energy you felt after?

What explains this impulse to behave altruistically, and the positive sensation we feel afterward?  Is altruism hard-wired into our brains, a function of morality, or just a way to satisfy our egos by validating that we’re a “good” person?  Is it a learned behavior driven by social mores, karma, or a reflexive process linked to genetics and evolution?

Here at AltrUHelp, we want to explore and inspire altruism – both inside the human mind and in our everyday lives.

For us, altruism is so much more than its dictionary definition — “the selfless concern for the well-being of others.”  In fact that definition is only a starting point, because we believe everyone is altruistic; everyone has a natural desire to help others and be helped themselves. The real question is: how altruistic are you? As you’ll see from our research and future posts, we believe everyone fits somewhere on what we call the “altruism spectrum” and this is an evolving concept.

Over the next few months, we’re going to explore the ideas, issues, enterprises and pioneering studies that are pushing us to re-think what it means to be altruistic.  We’re also going to profile a range of people who personify altruism and are catalyzing it in new and creative ways. So whether it’s discussing dopamine and its role in altruistic behavior, recent discoveries like the “altruism” gene, ancient warfare and Millennials, the emerging field of neuroeconomics, or celebrities (like Wycleff Jean) and those less well-known (like Philip Zimbrado, the psychologist behind the Stanford prison experiments), we invite you to join us in taking a deeper look at altruism and how it’s changing the world around you.

Check back regularly as we add new posts, features and interactive media to zing up the blog.  And share your comments and ideas!  We want this to be a vehicle for discussion, so please post comments and let us know what you think.  Have any questions or topics we should explore?  Email,  – we’d love to hear from you!

A  journey always starts with a single step and this is mine. Join me and the rest of the AltrUHelp team as we find out where this journey into altruism takes us. And check back as we prepare for AltrUHelp’s social experiment beta launch in 2011-2012!

Want an exclusive invitation to join the world’s largest online altruistic social experiment?  Subscribe to our blog or email our CEO, Mathew Paisner, at You’ll receive an exclusive invitation to join the beta launch of

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