News and Views

Psychology: People work less hard for others

Effort is costly. People devalue personal rewards that require some measure of physical or even mental effort. Laboratory studies now suggest that physical effort is especially costly when engaged to benefit others. Even when people are willing, however, their efforts are often superficial, with people doing what is necessary but no more.

  • Subscribe to Nature Human Behaviour for full access:

    $99

    Subscribe

Additional access options:

Already a subscriber?  Log in  now or  Register  for online access.

References

  1. 1.

    Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others (Yale Univ. Press, 2015).

  2. 2.

    The Selfish Gene (Oxford Univ. Press, 1989).

  3. 3.

    , & Econ. Theory 33, 67–80 (2007).

  4. 4.

    et al. Nat. Hum. Behav. 1, 0131 (2017).

  5. 5.

    , & Neuron 87, 451–463 (2015).

  6. 6.

    Exp. Econ. 14, 583–610 (2011).

  7. 7.

    , & Trends Cogn. Sci. 19, 126–132 (2015).

  8. 8.

    , , & J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 139, 665–682 (2010).

  9. 9.

    et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 112, 1619–1624 (2015).

  10. 10.

    The Evolution of Cooperation (Basic Books, 2006).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Michael Inzlicht and Cendri A. Hutcherson are in the Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4, Canada.

    • Michael Inzlicht
    •  & Cendri A. Hutcherson

Authors

  1. Search for Michael Inzlicht in:

  2. Search for Cendri A. Hutcherson in:

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michael Inzlicht.