Blog post #5

Blog #5: Round 3 of research 

My inquiry question is: Are humans naturally selfish?  

In my last blog post, I wrote about how it is not just the systems that we live by that make us selfish but also our society and culture affects the way we act , and causes us to act in only self-serving ways. In this blog post I will be researching what / if there are genetic and or scientific factors that lead to people’s selfishness, and how selfishness affects us. 

Is there scientific evidence that points to humans being born selfish? 

Neuroscience shows that when humans cooperate with each other a “reward circuit” is triggered in our brains, therefore suggesting that it is not in our “human nature” to be selfish beings (2). While on the other hand, it can be argued that that this “reward circuit” is only triggered as we are only helping or cooperating for purely self-serving reasons, its argued that our mindset is that they might return the favor and do something for us in return. Furthermore, there is scientific evidence that points to humans being inherently cooperative. There are studies that show that in the first few years of life young children exhibit signs of empathy towards others that are in distress, or suffering (5). Scientists at scientific American discovered a gene linked to altruistic behavior, meaning promoting someone else’s welfare, even at a risk or cost to ourselves (1). The scientist at scientific American believe that this gene is due to our evolution, we cooperated to help promote the continuation of our genetic line. They presume that this altruistic gene is also derived from the evolutionary process that take place at the group level, these groups of highly cooperative humans have a greater chance of survival as they are able to work together to achieve goals that are unattainable on the individual level (5). Thus, pointing out that there is more evidence of humans being born as altruistic and cooperative beings, as opposed to being born selfish. 

How selfishness affects us , and the people we surround ourselves with.

When we are doing something for self-serving or selfish reasons often times, we understand the impact or affect it can have on us, and the people around us. Selfish actions can often take a strain on our social lives and relationships, as selfishness is often seen as antisocial behaviors, and behaviors aren’t beneficial to social relationships (3). Some argue that not all selfishness is bad, in the sense that it is sometimes necessary for self-preservation, setting boundaries, and knowing when to prioritize yourself. Selfishness starts to be negative when it includes the damaging and exploitation of others for self-serving reasons (3). Often times it is hard to avoid being selfish even if humans could be inherently cooperative. Though there are signs of things like altruistic genes that are clear in early childhood at the end of the day the systems of which we live by were designed around the notion that all humans are selfish, this will always make it extremely difficult to not exhibit selfishness, even if it means harming the people around us. 



  1. Altruism Definition | What Is Altruism. (2021). Greater Good. 
  1. Benkler, Y. B. (2014, October 8). The Unselfish Gene. Harvard Business Review.,a%20human%20predisposition%20to%20cooperate. 
  1. Caskey, J. (2021, June 30). Selfishness is Not Sustainable: Why It Shouldn’t Be All About YouHttps://Www.Lifeintelligence.Io/ 
  1. Madgwick, P. (2018, May 5). Are genes really selfish? – Phil Madgwick. Medium. 
  1. Robison, M. (2014, September 1). Are People Naturally Inclined to Cooperate or Be Selfish? Scientific American. 





One Reply to “Blog post #5”

  1. Hello Sammie,

    Your blog post was very informative and fascinating to read since it included evidences of how humans become selfish and when we can be selfish. Overall, I think that also cooperating together rather than individually can improve social connections and communications which are beneficial to humans. I like how you mentioned the questions before writing the paragraph to make it organized. I relate to what you said about not all selfishness being bad as we need, in fact, egotism in our society for our sakes.

    Tiffany J

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