Theories for computing prosocial behavior

Arianna Costantini (Corresponding author), Andrea Scalco, Riccardo Sartori, Elena M. Tur, Andrea Ceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Most relevant theories of prosocial behavior aim at exploring and understanding helping motivations from an evolutionary perspective. This article summarizes findings from research on prosocial behavior from both a socio-economic and psychological perspective. Building on literature exploring the basic processes and determinant variables of helping, we propose a stochastic and dynamic model to simulate prosocial behaviors over time and recreate evolutionary processes of helping behaviors. Such a mathematical model formalizes a procedure for dynamic simulations, including agent-based modeling, which implies non-linear dynamics of prosocial processes underlying helping motivations. Practical implications for organizations and societies are addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-313
Number of pages17
JournalNonlinear Dynamics, Psychology & Life Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019



  • Agent-based models
  • Altruism
  • Behavioral evolution
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Reciprocity

Cite this

Costantini, A., Scalco, A., Sartori, R., Tur, E. M., & Ceschi, A. (2019). Theories for computing prosocial behavior. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology & Life Sciences, 23(2), 297-313.