The study of prosocial behavior--altruism, cooperation, trust, and the related moral emotions--has matured enough to produce general scholarly consensus that prosociality is widespread, intuitive, and rooted deeply within our biological makeup. Several evolutionary frameworks model the conditions under which prosocial behavior is evolutionarily viable, yet no unifying treatment exists of the psychological decision-making processes that result in prosociality. Here, we provide such a perspective in the form of the sociocultural appraisals, values, and emotions (SAVE) framework of prosociality. We review evidence for the components of our framework at four levels of analysis: intrapsychic, dyadic, group, and cultural. Within these levels, we consider how phenomena such as altruistic punishment, prosocial contagion, self-other similarity, and numerous others give rise to prosocial behavior. We then extend our reasoning to chart the biological underpinnings of prosociality and apply our framework to understand the role of social class in prosociality.
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