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Why are we “the giraffes of altruism.”?

According to the neuro-scientist, Jonathan Haidt, humans are instinctively unselfish in some key respects. He sees altruism - acting for others rather than out of self-interest - as an evolutionary development. 

What's the evidence, Mr Haidt?

There are signs that some forms of altruism are instinctive rather than learned. Even a very young child will come to you aid if you are struggling to open a door, for example. 

This suggests that an inclination to help others - is at least partially heritable. 

But isn't evolutionary theory based on the idea of the 'survival of the fittest'?

Co-operation gives humans a competitive advantage over other species


But what's with the giraffe reference?

The giraffe's long neck gives it an advantage over other species. Being nice - some of the time, anyway - is our equivalent of having a neck that gives you that extra bit of stretch when it comes to nabbing that fruit! 



BTW: giraffes & humans share the same number of neck vertebrae

More fascinating insights into some new ideas in psychology here
 The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt
The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement

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