Cognitive and Affective Processes of Prosociality

Rima-Maria Rahal, Susann Fiedler

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


One piece of the puzzle to prosocial behavior is understanding its underlying cognitive and affective processes. We discuss how modeling behavior in social dilemmas can be expanded by integrating cognitive theories and attention-based models of decision processes, and models of affective influences on prosocial decision-making. We review theories speaking to the interconnections of cognition and affect, identifying the need for further theory development regarding modeling moment-by-moment decision-making processes. We discuss how these theoretical perspectives are mirrored in empirical evidence, drawn from classical outcome-oriented as well as contemporary process-tracing research. Finally, we develop perspectives for future research trajectories aiming to further elucidate the processes by which prosocial decisions are formed, by linking process measures to usually unobservable cognitive and affective reactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309 - 314
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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