For generations, being kind to others is something we assumed we learned from our parents.
Recent studies have questioned whether this is indeed the case and it now seems that in part at least, the reason why some people are generous and kind is because they may have a genetic predisposition to being kind.
A recent study carried out by the University of California, looked at the behaviour of subjects who have versions of receptor genes for two hormones that are associated with niceness. Previous laboratory studies have linked the hormones Oxytocin and Vasopressin to the way we treat one another.
These hormones are known to make us nicer people promoting maternal behaviour. In the lab, the participants who were exposed to the hormone demonstrated greater sociability. The study suggests that these hormones make a definite contribution.
I also believe other things act as a contribution. Although we have a predisposition through our genes, an equally valid question is the extent to which nurture as well as nature dictates our behaviour and social interactions.