What makes the character trait of selfishness? | Science


Like all traits of human nature, selfishness develops as a combined result of genetic predispositions, life experiences, and social conditions. Selfishness has several manifestations.

Rationally selfish tries to maximize the benefit to himself, but often in a way that is quite harmless to other people. In this case, selfish action is mainly driven by incentives: a person acts according to what he or she is rewarded and punished for.

The self-centered person, on the other hand, thinks only of his own interests without caring about others. It is a matter of lack of compassion and exaltation of oneself above others. Self-centeredness is influenced by personality traits such as the tendency to see the world as competition or to feel jealous and superior to others.

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Social and cultural norms also have an impact: how much is an individual expected to care for other people, and how permissible is it to promote one’s own interest?

Antisocial selfishness is the most harmful form of selfishness. In it, one violates the rights of others and uses them only to achieve one’s own good. Such psychopathic-like traits are largely explained by hereditary factors and deficient social experiences in early childhood.

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Defendant: Markus Jokela

Professor of Psychology, University of Helsinki.

Published in Science Journal 13/2021.


Source: Tiede by www.tiede.fi.

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