Human Goodness altruism, empathy, generosity Publication date : January 9, 2014
Jacques Lecomte, a doctor in psychology, is a lecturer at the University of Paris-Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense and in the Social Sciences Faculty of the Catholic Institute of Paris. He is the president of the French and Francophone Association of Positive Psychology and the author of Donner un sens à sa vie.
A young child who can barely walk will rush spontaneously to help someone who seems to be in trouble. During natural catastrophes, pillaging and violence are rare, but there are many instances of altruism and solidarity. When we witness an injustice, areas of disgust are activated in the brain. And when that favourite postulate of economists — that humans are basically selfish — is put to the test, the evidence refutes it.
These are only some examples of certain findings, some of which are very recent, that incite us to radically revise our negative view of human beings.
• A powerful, even provocative, thesis that contradicts previous theories.
• An original, optimistic and realistic approach that encourages us to wager on human goodness.
• A radiant synthesis of numerous studies that challenge our beliefs about human beings.