It has been argued that the phenomenal self sees the world from an "egocentric" perspective. But then how do we explain why people give up their own time and resources on behalf of others? We propose that one answer to this question can be found in people's subjective experience of motivation to establishing what's real — the phenomenal "truth" self. In seeking the truth, people want to establish not only what is correct and real but also what is right, including morally right. We propose that the experience of being effective in figuring things out and solving problems relates positively to solving others' problems as well; that is, altruistic behaviors that help others. In support of this proposal, we touch upon ethical theories in philosophy and religion that have drawn the connection between seeking the truth and being moral, and we review research in comparative and social psychology suggesting how experiencing a "truth" self would support helping others. We also report two empirical studies demonstrating the unique relation between the subjective experience of effectiveness in pursuing the truth, particularly an affinity for solving puzzles or problems, and behaving altruistically by helping others to solve their problems. In contrast, being effective in value and control motivation — two other forms of self agency — did not predict altruism.
Cornwell, J.F., B. Franks, and E. Tory Higgins. "How the 'Truth' Self Relates to Altruism: When Your Problem Is Mine." Social Cognition 35, no. 2 (April 2017): 204-266.
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