Altruistic behavior involves the constant tradeoff between the benefit of the actor and the recipient, whereby behavior can range from purely cooperative (very altruistic) to purely competitive (very unaltruistic). This behavior is known to change depending on social setting and environmental competition, indicating a multifaceted mechanism by which altruism is affected. Little is known, however, about the effect of competition in the academic setting specifically on altruistic behavior and whether this academic altruism differs from daily life altruism. Using a validated scale, this study examines the effect of the presence of a daily life altruism cue and varying levels of academic competition on displayed academic altruism. The results indicate that there is no effect cue presence, competition level or the interaction of the two on displayed academic altruism thus suggesting that higher academic competition does not cause students to act less altruistically and provides the possibility that daily life altruism may in fact differ from academic altruism. This study poses questions about the nature of academic altruism and provides a foundation for further study into the interaction between daily life altruism, academic altruism and competition.
Crain, Caroline, "Analyzing the Relation Between Academic Competition and Altruism" (2020). Undergraduate Student Research Awards. 64.