Personality and Prosocial Behavior: Linking Basic Traits and Social Value Orientations

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Concerning the dispositional determinants of prosocial behavior and cooperation, work based on the classic 5 personality factors, and especially Agreeableness, has turned out somewhat inconsistent. A clearer picture has emerged from consideration of the HEXACO model of personality-though supported entirely by hypothetical behavior as criterion, so far. Thus, in 2 studies and a reanalysis, we investigated "actual behavior" in the form of individually and socially consequential distribution decisions. As expected, HEXACO Honesty-Humility consistently predicted prosocial behavior, including a theory-consistent pattern on the facet level. Importantly, this pattern might explain why five-factor Agreeableness has only sometimes been found to account for prosocial behavior. Indeed, further results indicate that five-factor Agreeableness comprises some aspects that are predictive of prosocial behavior-aspects well covered by HEXACO Honesty-Humility-but also others that play no role for this criterion. As such, the links between five-factor Agreeableness and prosocial behavior are well-covered by HEXACO Honesty-Humility, but not vice versa. Taken together, these findings hint that especially HEXACO Honesty-Humility (and certain aspects of five-factor Agreeableness) account for prosocial behavior-thus explaining previous inconsistencies and providing a more nuanced understanding of the links between basic personality and prosocial or cooperative behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)529-539
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

ID: 122817544