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Many of the world's problems (e.g., overpopulation, pollution, and the depletion of nonrenewable resources) may be characterized as social dilemmas. The solutions to social dilemmas, then, are very important. In this article, we argue: (a) that social psychologists have approached the problem of social dilemmas with an egoistic bias, (b) that this bias limits the number and types of solutions to dilemmas that psychologists investigate, (c) that egoistically based solutions to social dilemmas are not adequate in many real-world dilemmas, and (d) that viable solutions to these dilemmas may be found in nonegoistic motives.


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© American Psychological Association. Final version published as: Lynn, M., & Oldenquist, A. (1986). Egoistic and nonegoistic motives in social dilemmas. American Psychologist, 41(5), 529-534. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.