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Altruism is acting out of concern for another’s well-being. Often, people behave altruistically when they see others in desperate circumstances and feel empathy and a desire to help. Altruism doesn’t always come naturally, since by definition, it requires people to disregard their own concerns to help others without any expectation of reward, though "reciprocal altruism" is a term used by evolutionary biologists and psychologists to characterize the decision to help with an expectation that one will receive some benefit or pay-off to oneself.
Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's thoughts, feelings, and condition from their point of view, rather than from your own. You can imagine yourself in their place in order to understand what they are feeling or experiencing.