RGK Faculty Fellow: Marlone Henderson

What circumstances influence an individual’s motivation to donate either time or money to a charitable cause? In his research on prosocial behavior, RGK Center Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor of Psychology Marlone Henderson has been engaged in a series of studies looking at factors that impact psychological barriers to charitable giving and volunteering. Prosocial behavior―when an individual takes action to help others―is “a huge area in social psychology,” Henderson says, and philanthropy is a prime example of a prosocial or “helping” behavior.

Henderson’s research pursuits in philanthropy began almost as an accident at the University of Chicago (where he taught from 2006 to 2008) through his involvement in a study looking at how other people affect an individual’s motivations. A relative of one of the members of the research team was in a senior position at an international NGO that seeks sponsors for children in war-torn or impov