Skip to content

By a guest author on

How social am I?

We are prosocial for many reasons, but does does age affect this behaviour. Researcher Lucy Foulkes explains more.

How do you spend your time? Do you play sports , read or hangout with friends?

A cat and dog engaged in prosocial behaviour
Prosocial behaviour. Image credit: Ray McLean via Flickr

Human beings are social creatures, and we tend to enjoy spending time with others. There are different kinds of social behaviour.

You have probably heard of antisocial behaviour – when people deliberately cause trouble for other people. You might be less familiar with the term prosocial, but hopefully you engage in prosocial behaviour more often.

Prosocial behaviour describes any act that is intended to help other people. For example, if you help someone carry something, give up your seat on the bus, or look after someone when they are ill, you are engaging in prosocial behaviour.

There are lots of reasons why we might be prosocial (and lots of reasons why we might be antisocial!), but we don’t really understand how age affects prosocial behaviour. Do children, teenagers and adults show different types of prosocial behaviour?

This is why we are here at the Science Museum.

We need you to come and take part in a real science experiment. By telling us a bit about how you spend your time and playing a short game, you can help us understand prosocial behaviour. We can then see how people’s behaviour changes as they get older, and how other things might affect whether or not we decide to spend time with others.

If you are interested in helping us, please visit us at Live Science, in the Who Am I? gallery. The experiment takes 10-15 minutes, but you may have to queue at busy times. The Live Science Research Team from UCL will be there on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until Saturday 25th June.

Lucy Foulkes is a researcher at UCL.