Personal Values Associated with Prosocial Decisions

Renata M Heilman, Petko Kusev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Social situations require people to make complex decisions, sometimes involving different outcomes for the self and others. Considering the long-lasting interest scholars are showing in the topic of social decisions, the aim of the current article is to add to this research line by looking at personal values as possible factors associated with a preference for more self-maximizing or cooperative choices. In a general adult sample (N = 63), we used the Social Value Orientation (SVO) slider measure to investigate participants' tendency towards prosocial or proself outcomes. We also administered a personal values questionnaire, measuring 19 basic values, organized in 4 higher-order values. Building on the theory of basic individual values, we expected self-transcendence to be positively associated with more prosocial orientations. Our main result confirmed that self-transcendence was positively correlated with SVO whereas no other higher-order values were associated with SVO. Our data also revealed that inequality aversion was the primary motivation of prosocials, and this result was unrelated to gender effects or the personal values under investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number77
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2020


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