Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Selfishness Is Learned

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Selfishness Is Learned


5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

A new study reveals that selflessness is better for business.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Are people inherently selfish or selfless? In this Nautilus article, science writer Matthew Hutson shares new research about human behavior and intuition. He details a cybersociety simulation that quantifies why people act in their own self-interest or in the interest of others. He draws a connection between the results of the study and how companies and employees could benefit from cooperation rather than competition. getAbstract recommends these findings to business leaders and managers looking to foster a more cooperative work environment.


David Rand – a psychology, management, economics and social policy studies professor at Yale University – and Harvard professors Martin Nowak and Joshua Greene wanted to know if people are selfish or selfless by nature. To find an answer, in 2012, they conducted ten experiments, most based on standard economics “public-goods” scenarios. They gave American adults money and the option of contributing their funds to a common pool, which the researchers would then multiply and equally redistribute. The majority of participants gave some money, even though they could have gained without giving. When researchers...

About the Author

Matthew Hutson is a science writer who has written for Wired, The Atlantic and The New York Times. He is the author of The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same author

Related Channels