PSYC 215 – March 13 , 15 , 20 , 22 , and 27 , 2012 th
- Behaviour intended for the common good
- Behaviour that promotes harmonious social functioning
o From the book
o Conformity and norms help us come to consensus to determine how social groups exist.
o Need harmonious behavior to make things happen
- Conformity, obedience
o Cast in negative light – ex: Milgram experiment
o Obey when we shouldn’t behave
o OUR AUTHOR – says need obey commands of superiors to develop social norm/function.
- Rules of law
- Rules of the road
o People who do these 3 things are engaging prosocial behaviour
- Across cultures, there appears to be a norm that one is obliged to pay back in kind what one has received
o In interpersonal interactions, there isa give and ake. Invest, and expect return on our investment
o When someone does something nice for you, it sets up a debt. When you are the recipient, you
feel need/pressure to repay at least in kind the deposit of gesture.
- Receiving help creates a “debt” that must be repaid
- Some disadvantaged groups refuse help due to their perceived inability to pay back
o Minorities/elderly – can’t repay therefore don’t want help
o Tension of the debt
- Equity – receiving benefits in proportion to what one has contributed
o Economic model
o Invest in relationships with other people but we expect payback for that.
o Reciprocity – do something nice for you, do it for me. For EQUITY - Not important though to
do EXACTLY what I did for you, but as long as it has the same worth (returned in kind) – it’s
o Investment in rltsp as the equity that they have brought to the rltsp
- Equality – everyone gets the same amount
o Everyone gets the same thing in EQUALITY.
- Negative feelings toward people who take more tan they contribute
- Negative feelings when one feels that one is not contributing to the social unit (ex: feeling useless)
o Ex: individuals acquired health conditions limiting ability to perform in society, role as
parent/spouse/neighbour is limited. Have contribution need to make but CAN’T – feel negative
- So there is a pressure for things to be equitable in interpersonal relationships Violations of Justice Norm
Violation of your belief leads you to abandon your belief, now start to believe situation as unjust – this
has negative reprucussions
- Excessive focus on loss
o Ex: go home tonight, and there’s a note on fridge saying partner has left you for your best friend.
They’re gone and taken all your CDs, car, and the cat. Gone out west. Note says “it’s not you,
it’s me, but couldn’t take it anymore, i’m gone. Been in love for 1yr, but now i couldn’t hold
Will experience situation as unfair – thinking about investment you put in, betrayal of
trust experienced and the subsequent loss living. Chances are, when try to slee at night,
will have troubles – mind will go over situation continuously. Sometimes you’ll be
devastated, othertimes livid. Focusing at times on everything you’ve lost as a function of
this – all time wasted. Nice thing you did for partner over year as complete waste. Pangs
More that you tread into domain of justice themes, more the negative feelings will change
from sadness/depression to anger. Then start thinking about how to retaliate for your
o Go see psychologist – “learn to live with it/let it go”. But not NOW?! First – damage has to be
DONE! When he has suffered, then I will let it go.
o Feeling when we’ve suffered an injustice, that the perpertraitor of the injustice has to pay a price
if we can be released of the clutches of our perception of injustice.
Perceptions of injustice following injury – Sullivan’s study
- Following debilitating accident/injury/health progression – the more you feel it is unjust, the worse your
- What’s the theme weaving negative sentences? It’s the theme of justice – they feel situation is unjust.
Sustained severe, permanent loss, nothing able to be undone to undo the damage.
- Mostly car accidents in this study.
- “I don’t deserve...”
o Don’t experience feelings of injustice as conscious. As person talks to you, the more you
imagine them finishing this sentence “...”, the more they are experiencing feelings of injustice.
- Injustice as undeserved loss
o Doesn’t mean material loss, can be loss of function, loss of quality of life (constant pain)
o Loss of security, loss of enjoyment
- “justice is produced in the sou, like health in the body, whereas injustice is like disease and means that
the natural order is subverted”
o Injustice takes root in your psyche, and stays there.
o If think of all things that were unjust in your life, you can’t let them go.
- “justice demands that where there is an offence, there must be satisfaction. Satisfaction must be made
by the offender, and it must be a recompense which is equal and opposite to the offence”
o Saint Anselm of Cantebury o Have to do back to them what they did to you.
- In early days of legal system , if they did something bad to you (stole and ate your donkey), they felt like
people couldn’t run around feeling they wanted revenge of people! So we give them a sense of justice.
So we tie that guy up and whip him to teach the lesson. Recognition that this had to happen, and had to
o There were problems with whipping... so we don’t anymore. So for the most part, we have a
justice system that tried to deal with undeserved losses by giving you money! So if you feel that
you have had significant loss (not criminal event, so can’t go to jail), they can only give you
money. That’s to a large degree how our legal system tries to deal with injustice today.
o Lose leg (amputation) – give money, make situation not feel as bad.
o For most people, this works. Most perceived injustices (sustain debilitating injuries), this is
okay. Addresses internal scale of injustice. But not all people. Even inspite of some financial
compensation, they still feel significant loss.
- PAPER – Role of perceived injustice in experience of chronic pain and disability.
o No measures before this paper – developed an “injustice experience questionnaire”
o Sex differences in perceived injustice
Men perceive more injustice than women
Men have greater sense of entitlement – so experience loss more significantly. Perhaps
losses for men are greater than that of women.
o Perceptions of injustice are highly coordinated with catastrophizing.
Focus on pain symptom
Maginifcation of the threat of pain
Increased emotional distress
PERCEIVED INJUSTICECATASTROPHIZINGPAIN OUTCOMES
Maybe it’s through catastrophizing that injustice has its impact on pain
o Assess people as come in from whiplash injuries.
Pain, PTSD symptom
PCS and IEQ (injury experiences questionnaire)
Who still disabled after one year of program
High scores on PCS = pain chronic
High scores of IEQ was best predictor of you remaining absent from work
o Clinical implications of perceived injustice
Anger – mor eangry you are, it’s not going to help in progress to rehabilitation!
Especially if not with professional people you are consulting, not developing the
relationship will not help with you rprogress
More anger, will be non-compliant.
Compromise alliances with treating professionals through anger
o Two kinds of people in the worl d for people who perceive injustice
Ally or enemy
Express anger at you, they’ve decide you’re one of the enemies So treatment professionals are being taught how to be seen as allies in the patient’s
psyche and help the relationship. If client is angry at you, then there is nothing you can
do to help this person
o Perceived injustice in associated with heightened painbehavior and disability in individuals with
Prove publically you are revenging your injustice. No one can see your pain unless you
show them. Those with high senses of perceived injustice will demonstrate high levels of
behaviour showing injustice/their pain
Client engage in behaviour showing the severity of her pain. Would you hire me?
QUESTION – I wouldn’t, because she’s very negative. Something about her behaviour
shows that she can’t do a job effectively. Her behaviour convinces you and changes your
view of her, so you agree she can’t do her job. So extend her disability. Clients
behaviour influences YOUR judgement, and it extends the period of disability.
Impact negatively on recovery trajectory in physical injuries, but also the mental health
consequences associated with injury. So in this study, looked at PTSD following
whiplash. They are also experiencing nightmares, intrusive thoughts and significant
mental stress. Who gets better and who doesn’t?
PTSD and high perceived injustice = not better
Negative impact on ability to recover from mental health consequences
PTSD and low perceived injustice = get better
- Different kind of injustice
o Event-related injustice
Something happened, and it changed your life. Event led to unfair consequences for you
TARGET – perceived perpertrator = driver of other vehicle or employer
o Distributive injustice
You and your neighbour get the same injury. Neighbour gets 500,000 and you get 25$ -
this is distributive injustice.
o Procedure-related injustice
On the phone with case manager from insurer, they are saying you “don’t have an injury”
– feel treated like a criminal!
Target is insurance rep or HCPs (if don’t feel received the right care)
- Revenge motives
o How can i protect myself? How can i get back at the target? His disability is the only
ammunition he has! If he lets his disability go, he has no power
o Component of perceived injustice having a negative impact on a number of different domains
when recovering from an injury
- Disability as the only ammunition in battle against perpetrator of injustice?
- Ceasing to seek retribution for being wronged
- Ceasing to feel angry toward the wrongdoer
o Emotional component is gone. If reflect on anger emotion, often it is perceived injustice. - Releasing the wrongdoer from debt
o When something bad is done to me, we expect the debt to be repaid! Individual must suffer as
well. In forgiveness, we release this debt
o This ability is important component in positive social functioning. If every time experience loss
situation, and you retaliate physically, we would not have harmonious social functioning
- A key factor in the maintenance of positive relationships
Barriers to foregiveness
- Severity of the offence
o Big difference if someone accidentally took your pen vs your bf
- Low commitment for the relationship
o Infidelity episode in rltsp – one night, your friend and bf slept together. Now partner wants to
stay with you. Degree to foregive would depend on the extent of your commitment to the rltsp –
if commitment is strong part of your identity, then you will be more likely to forgive
- Absence of apology or remorse
o If partner apologizes, then may let it go. If not, “what’s the big deal?”, then less likely to
- Rumination and anger
o More go down this road, more difficult it is to forgive
o Anger is often the opposite of forgiveness! Not thinking about “letting it go”. So if more angry,
more likely hard to forgive
- Behaving in a manner consistent with a specific directives or commands
- Key to prosocial functioning
- Obeying: parents, coaches, teachers, laws
- Promote harmonious social function
- COACH – run down yard, turn left, throw ball... NO, i’m not going to do that. HUH?
- Military – follow leader’s commands are critical to outcome of certain venture.
- If note there, will have negative consequences
- DARK SIDE to obedience
o War-time mass murders
People responsible for the big scale bad things were following orders/obeying the leader.
This “blind” obedience can have disastrous consequences
Syria, Rwanda, Iraq – thousands murdered due to religious allegiance.
o Cult members
Follow orders of leader who says some prophecy – can have disastrous consequences.
o Behaviour of medical professionals
Follow orders of medical practice. Nurse follows order of physicians to give certain med
that killed patient. Should nruse have followed, or rendered her own professional
judgement? Often fairly slippery slope here. Makes sense for someone with additional
training to give directions. But if they make a mistake, and you notice, should you follow
through or analyze to prevent the consequences
- Milgram’s Experiments o Situation where individuals are delivering shocks to someone they beliebe if another
rparticipants who keeps getting answer wrong. Participant’s job is to give a list of words, and
subject identifies correct word (it’s really a confederate). “teacher” must keep increasing the
shock. At different points in time, confederate (“learner”). At 150V he complains and pleads to
be let out. Screams and refuses to answer. Graph shows percentage of participants who kept
delivering shocks. At 450V – SUPER dangerous... 65% of people gave the shock at this
extreme. Though not comfortable with doing it, he wasn’t “responsible” for the subject’s pain,
so he kept going. The experimenter was responsible for subject. Kept going despite have
negative reaction on other person (theoretically).
o People were reflecting on WWII at this time in history. Media in the US said Germans were
“animals” – they can exterminate cultures, and american’s wouldn’t do this! Milgram showed
that anyone under the right conditions would do something like this. TONS of controversy. He
highlighted a side of human nature that no one wanted to see.
PSYCH 215 – March 15 , 2012
What breeds obedience?
- Emotional distance of the victim
o Can’t see the person
- Closeness and legitimacy of the authority
o Guy in white lab coat more likely to get person to do orders vs just a guy
o SEEING the person rather than just hearing the voice played a significant role in obeying
- Institutional authority
- The liberating effects of group influence
o Aware of others following/not obeying commands. So if someone else says NO, you are more
likely to say no
- Norm Formation – Sherif
o Studies looking at movement of light in the dark – responses became more similar
o Interpreting events differently after hearing from others about their responses (real world
example of this). Ex: song on the radio – they rave about it though you didn’t like it, eventually
you like it
- Conformity – Asch
o Watching lines and answering, giving wrongs answers – go along with them?
o Real world example – fads/tattoos (not obviously wrong though...)
- Obedience – milgram
o Comply with commands
o Real world examples – soldiers/employees following questionanble orders
PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR – Helping others
Behave in way that is entirely towards wellbeing of another, in detriment of his own wellbeing. Sacrafice his
life for another person. Self-sacrificing - Why do people do that? Want society with as much of this as possible. Understand mechanisms
involved in prosocial behaviour of this kind, you can make situations probable to occur and maximize
- Why happens, though?
o Controversy over whether you’re doing it to help someone else’s wellbeing or if something is in
it for yourself.
o Spok protecting captain Kirk – he had momentary image of himself as the hero! This is a
pleasing image and propelled him to action. Altruistic or self-sacrificing behaviour. It’s to some
degree egotistically driven. Get something out of this makes it interesting for you.
What propels us to help others?
- Look at the situation, have a sense of what person is experiencing, even if haven’t done it yourself.
Empathic experience where experience other people’s pain. Something about way mind is constructed
allows us to experience others’ pain. This propels helping behaviour. we feel distress when others are
- Seeing people in pain drives helping behaviour
- Animals as well have this...
o Dogs at 911 were trained for this. Do behaviour because used to be rewarded for doing this
positive behaviour. Do it for reward.
o Same for us when we were young – we engage in the prosocial behaviour because as kids we
were positively reinforced for doing it. We are shaped.
o Some genetic dispositions favouring/inhibiting prosocial behaviour in DOGS
- Essential characteristic of our species, and any social species
- What would we do like this?
o Give directions, donate money, share notes, volunteer, help elder across the street
o Help people over sustained period of time. Give back in kindness that they received. Saw others
doing it and felt they were expected to do the same.
o Benefit for themselves as well as help others. Boosts self-esteem, learn skills, meets others,
further career and make friends.
o Build relationships – it’s rewarding. Close relationships develop – these are the most beneficial.
o Benefits – increase psychological wellbeing, health, and longer life
o Think about what it entails,
Evolutionary Factors in Helping:
The “Selfish Gene”
- We came genetically prepared to engage in helping
- What is important is survival of the individual’s genes, not survival of the fittest individual
- Behave in ways that are designed to maximize our survival, but we are interested in having our genetic
material survive, not just US. Parts of us in other people – our offspring, siblings, parents... we are
motivated to not only protect ourselves, but protect and enhance survival of individuals who share
genetic material with us
- Kinship selection is the tendency to help genetic relatives o Strongest when biological stakes are particularly high
- What is the reproductive advantage of helping someone who isn’t related to you?
- Through reciprocal altruism, helping someone else can be in your best interest.
- Mechanism in social system that increases probability that help will be given beyond kinship ties – yes
important to help people genetically related to you if maximize probability your line continues, but not
for your social unit! Some are not related to you, but they are important to you and it’s important for
them to survive.
- Debt situation comes in here – if you are without resources, you are increasing probability that you will
- Kinship selection – mothers motivated to help their young. As soon as members of species are NOT
related, frequency with which you observe altruistic behaviour, it drops down dramatically. Only in
humans do we see non-genetically related altruism.
Rewards of Helping: Helping others to help oneself
- More likely to help when the potential rewards of helping seem high relative to the potential costs
- Arousal: Cost-Reward Model
o What are the costs/rewards associated with helping?
o Both emotional and cognitive factors involved
Costs of Help or on NOT helping
- Helping has its costs as well as its rewards
- Helping can also be more sustained and deliberate
o Courageous resistance
Ex: people wo hid Jews during Holocaust
Had to endure significant hardship to help others. HIGH COSTS
- Helping can have negative health effects if involves constant and exhausting demands
o Ex: caring for someone with a serious/terminal illness
o Caregivers, over long period of time, have mental and physical health issues
Give and give and give, no receiving. So coping resources eventually expire and start to
think of ways in which they can end the distress situation they are living in – try and
- What protects people from caregiver burnout? Do okay emotionally until one of two things happens:
o Spouse doesn’t recognize you anymore = no relationship
o Spouse loses bowel and bladder control = more care
- These precipitate burnout/depression in caregiver. Cognitive aspect of relationship is gone – when
present, it’s a driver of behaviour, and buffer for stressors. So we they cognitively don’t recognize you,
the buffer leaves and you are more likely to suffer.
- Lose bowel control, you take on a new role in the relationship and this changes you.
Altruism of Egoism: The Great Debate
- Is helping motivated by altruistic or egoistic concerns?
o Altruistic: motivated by the desire to increase another’s welfare o Egoistic: motivated by desire to increase one’s own welfare
Even though egoistic, person is not AWARE that it is egoistic drive
- Impact on society – not much of a difference. Someone is behaving in way benefiting others. We just
question where the drive comes from.
- Batson: the motivation behind some helpful actions is truly altruistic
Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis – BATSON
- More reacting empathically to client’s distress, more likely your motive is altruistic.
- Ex: mother responding to child’s crying behaviour. Mother feels pain of child, and is going to be
motivated to do something to decrease child’s distress. It makes her feel less distressed to do this, but
her stress-reduction rewards are not the primary driver behaviour. Without the empathic drive for the
other person, then it is more egoistically driven.
o Ex: give sister money = altruistic. Give stranger money = egoistic
- Manipulate empathic reaction – give MORE personal detail about person needing help, and also make
that person very similar to you. More likely to have empathic reaction to someone who is similar to us
rather than someone who is dissimilar.
BATSON Study – Telling the Difference between Egoistic and Altruistic motives
- If you watch someone suffer, you suffer too!
- How easy is it to escape from a helping situation?
- If egoistic motive, helping should decline when escape from situation is easy
- If altruistic motive, help is given regardless of ease of escape
- Situation = go in room, see person suffering. You have to take her place.
- Batson et al 1981
o P is paired with a confederate Elaine
o Randomly placed in observed position
o Watch Elaine receive shocks as she works
o Would participant be willing to take Elaine’s place?
o Varied empathy and difficulty of escape
½ told E’s personal values were similar to you, ½ told
½ participants told they could leave early; ½ told had to
o Results? Low empathic (not like you) – almost none helped
when had easy escape, and still only 60% helped when had
difficult escape. o High empathic (like you), had almost ALL helping when escape was easy (can leave if you
want), and still had 80%+ help when escape was difficult (told you had to stay and watch).
Situational Influences on Helping
- Tragic story of Kitty Genovese. Why did no one help?
o Latane and Darley: Were social psychological processes at work?
o Why when clear need, would people choose not to engage?
- B.Effect = Presence of others inhibits helping
- Five Steps to Helping in an Emergency
- Every step of trajectory from noticing something happened to you behaving in helpful fashion – there
are many barriers. Can abort at many stages
- Emergency – something distracted you from situation, gaze went somewhere else, something places
demands on your cognition – you won’t notice.
- NOTICE something happened – they are often ambiguous about what is needed in the situation. See
someone on ground – dead, ill drunk? Not sure what’s going on, so less likely to do something. Rltsp –
they have one, it’s a “family” issue, not our problem. If ambiguous, we look to see what others are
doing – if information value is low (no one is doing anything), we do nothing. If it’s high (they are
doing stuff), we do something too.
- ITS AN EMERGENCY: See others – we decrease our responsibility, others should be doing it!
- Do something! o I’m not competent to do something – less likely to take action
- Decide how to help – i am competent . Costs and benefits
o See someone on road, need help, i know how to help, but i’m LATE for my meeting! Costs are
greater so I won’t help. If i don’t care about being late, i will help.
B. Effect – Rsch by Garcia et al 2002
- participants imagined being in crowd, alone or not in social situation
- Later asked to volunteer to help in another experiment
- Measure duration of helping
- Imagine self in group situation, reduces time you will be willing to volunteer. Highest amount of time
you want to volunteer, imagine yourself as being alone in the situation. It’s not the actual presence of
others, but you THINKING you are alone wil increase likelihood of you engaging in helping behaviour
B.Effect – Markey 2000
- Participants in chat room
- Encountered plea for help
- Number of people present varied
- Manipulated whether asked for a particular person to help
- Measured response time to plea
o When increase amount of people in group, there is a progressive increase in the time it takes to
help. More people = longer to help.
o If person specifically names you – then doesn’t matter how many people in group, you are likely
Location and Culture
- Do individuals have a worse chance of being helped in an emergency in a big city than in a small town?
o Graeter population density is associated with less helping
o Larger city = in a hurry, many demands, many people, thing more in terms of costs rather than
o Smaller town = more likely you have a personal rltsp with that person
PSYC 215 – March 20 , 2012
Good Moods lead to Helping: Reasons
- More often than not, good moods/positive feeling states, will facilitate positive behaviour
- Why feeling good leads to doing good – what research has found
o Desire/motivation to maintain one’s good mood
Someone asks something of you, and you want to stay in a good mood, you don’t want to
conflict with that person. So to stay in a good mood, you say yes. If you say no, it’s a
negatively toned interaction, and will decrease your good mood.
o Good moods lead to positive expectations about helping
Think about rewards of helping.
o Positive thoughts – increased accessibility
Prosocial thoughts and thinking are more readily accessibile
o Positive thoughts and expectations about social activities Social activity are associated with affiliative needs. Social character of cognitions which
are rendered more accessible may increase probability of your helping.
Positive image others will have of you, form helping, it occurs in a social context with
sense of belongingness, plays a role in your willingness to participate in helping
Good moods lead to helping: limitations
- Why feeling good might Not lead to doing good
o Costs of helping are HIGH
Ex: walk out of class, it’s sunny, in good mood, meet someone withe rake and bags and
they are part of McGill clean up association for dog poo. Should only take 3 hours of
your time – you may judge that being associated with this negative thing (poo) may
decrease the likelihood you will do it.
o Positive thoughts about other social activities that conflict with helping
Eg: taking time to help someone would conflict with good mood associated with getting
to the party on time.
Bad Moods and Helping
- When negative moods make us more likely to help others
o If we take responsibility for what caused our bad mood (ie: feel guilty)
o If we focus on other people
o If we are made to think about our personal values that promote helping
Something occurs that increases accessibilty of your thoughts for helping others
- When negative moods make us LESS likely to help others
o If we blame others for our bad mood
o If we become very self-focused
o If we are made to think about our personal values that do not promote helping
Ex: thinking about how everyone is responsible for taking care of them selves, and
shouldn’t rely on others – interfere with probability of you helping
Helping and Role Models
- Role models are important in teaching children about helping
- How do role models inspire helping?
- 3 reasons
o Provide an example of behaviour to imitate directly (model behaviour)
o Teach that helping is valued and rewarding (observe someone in the helping behaviour, it’s
associated with some kind of positive outcome. More that child watches certain behaviour
associated with positive outcome, more likely behaviour be construed as valued or rewarding)
o Increase awareness of societal standards of conduct (in day to day life)
Reactions to Receiving Help
- Help is experienced as self-supportive when recipient feels appreciated and cared for
- Help is experienced as self-threatening when recipient feels inferior and overly dependant - When you DO help, implicitly, we are highlighting a deficiency in someone – they can’t do it by
themselves, so we are helping them. So if i am in a situation where you do something and I feel not
independent/autonomous because of it, I may not feel good about myself an d I’ll react negatively
- Those with high self-esteem tend to react more negatively than those with low self-esteem
- Being helped by a similar other may imply that recipient is inferior
o Ex: child helped by parent can accommodate because it fits world view – older people know
more. But if i’m a university student being helped by another university student – similar others
on equal plain, but your helping behaviour makes me feel inferior, pushing me down hierarchy,
therefore negative reaction.
- Help from a significant other on an ego-relevant task can threaten one’s self-esteem
o Ex: me and sis in school. I am good in math, but need her help for a question. It’s threatening
my self-esteem – it’s close to my sense of identity, but her helping make me feel inferior.
- Situations where you need someone’s hand to save your life, you are happy they are there!
Aggression and Anti-Social Behaviour
Why do we aggress?
- We definitely do aggress!
- Human beings are a lot more efficient at aggression than other animals are
- Dogs can aggress many times, so seem more aggressive. But humans have developed methods to be
more efficiently aggressive
o Things we believe in
o Things we describe as ours
o Live in area where there are few resources, we fight for those
o Act against someone we believe acted unjust to us
o Mate, prize
- ALL THESE THEMES, can underlie our acts of aggression
Teen who became an “Executioner”
- Was teased all the time
- Yvan Ramsey – Bethel High School
- Tired of being bullied – thought of ways to get rid of being picked on and ridiculed
o He is describing frequent episodes where he was the victim of bullying. He is experiencing
significant injustice. More it occurs, more his mind thinks of ways to get back at person
responsible for this, or finding way to put an end to it
- Chose wrong thing to do when in correctional facility – 210 years in prison. Parole only when he is
- Decided to go to high school with gun. When dropped shotgun, principal and a student died – not the
o Did action leading to significant aggression towards others. Ends up in bad situation – spend rest
of life in jail What is Aggression?
- By 1983, there were more than 250 different definitions of aggression
- Aggression is defined as behaviour that is intended to harm another individual
o How do we know someone’s intentions?
It is inside someone’s head!
o Aggressive behaviour can come in many different forms
Language of Aggression
o Refers to extreme acts of aggression
o Consists of strong feeli