Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Kathleen Brown

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© 2015 Nicole A Orozco


Although children display the rudiments of altruistic capacity as early as during infancy, the manifestation of their actual altruistic behavior varies dramatically as they age. This paper explores some of the possible mechanisms behind the variation in altruistic tendencies in individual children, including some evolutionary theory, potential environmental factors, as well as sex, gender, and cultural differences. Specifically, it deals with topics such as attachment, emotions, personality, biological sex differences, gendered socialization, transgender children, parenting, reinforcement, perceptions of power, religion, and distinct cultural differences between collectivist and individualist cultures, and how each of these factors uniquely influence the manifestation of altruistic tendencies in children. Understanding the influence of even these few mechanisms ultimately leads to a better understanding of not only altruism in general, but also of specific instances of altruistic behavior in children, which may lead to a better understanding of how to encourage such behaviors to promote social and overall well-being.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.