In the spirit of the season of changing leaves and things that go bump in the night, the AltruHelp team was happy to volunteer this past weekend at the Castle Island Association’s 29th Annual Children’s Magical Halloween Castle. For one weekend a year the Castle Island Association transforms Fort Independence in South Boston, into a haunted castle open free to the public.
As we helped at the event we were treated to a parade of kids in costumes; we saw brave superheroes, roguish pirates, howling werewolves, and all manner of witches, princesses, ninjas, knights, ghosts, and ghouls. After exploring the shadowy depths of the castle, kids were treated to a magician, a storyteller, a temporary tattoo station, and an assortment of pastries, donuts, cider and of course, candy. Over the course of two days, over 10,000 people came to the event! And we were proud to be a part of the 30 plus volunteers who helped to make that possible.
Do humans have an innate desire to help others without expecting anything in return? It’s a simple question that has tested the wits of scientists and philosophers across millennia, including the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Hobbes and Darwin. Now it’s AltruHelp’s turn to weigh in on this perennial question.
Today’s post marks the start of a three-part series examining the emerging research on how humans are naturally altruistic—i.e. how we are innately composed via our brains, genes and neurons to help others selflessly. By looking at recent experiments conducted at leading institutions such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the German-based Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, as well as articles from prominent science and psychology journals, our goal is to shed light on the cognitive, genetic and neurochemical processes that likely combine to make altruism an innate human behavior.
One of the most fascinating areas of research focuses on whether young children have a natural (versus a learned or socialized) willingness to be altruistic. Read More