Thursday, March 15th, 2012
What Breeds Obedience?
Milgram then looked at the parameters of obedience. He found that we do not obey all of the
time. Emotional distance is a factor (if he is right next to you, you will deliver less shock). As
for the legitimacy of the authority, if the person giving the order is just another participant,
they will not have as much say. Also, the degree to which other people obeyed commands
impacted how much people will be following orders.
Summary of Classic Studies
All having to do with things that guide our behaviour.
First Movie (Star trek)
There is a lot of work done on understanding why people act to the detriment to themselves
to help others. In a society, you want to maximize this type of phenomenon. There is a lot of
controversy about why this happens. The controversy is whether you are really acting for
someone else’s well being, or if there is something in it for yourself. To some degree, maybe
it is driven by the ego (looking like a hero, etc). The studies that we will see will try to see
how selfish or how selfless someone else’s behaviours.
Slide With Bull
Some of the things that propel us to help others. When looking at this picture, there is an
empathic dimension to experience where you can feel his pain. Something about the ways
that our minds are constructed allows us to experience pain the ways that others do. This is
one of the ways of propelling behaviour; we feel stress when others do.
He is probably going to his mom, who will fell stress. This is a motivator of her helping
Slide with dog and firefighter
It is not entirely true that it is a human thing. A lot of dogs assisted with looking for
survivors. Do dogs help for different reasons that we use to engage in helping behaviour?
These dogs are probably trained for this task; they do not perceive of the need for help, but
they are rewarded for engaging in this behaviour repeatedly. Also, some genetic
dispositions in certain dogs will either favour or prohibit pro-social behaviour.
Things done in your day-to-day life that are helping behaviours (pro-social). Regardless of
the motive, this will benefit others.
Video on people volunteering
First reactions to volunteering might be to think over all of the costs involved. Research
shows that although there are costs, there are rewards as well. Once relationships develop
within the volunteering experience, this increases continuity. Evolutionary Factors in Helping: The “Selfish Gene”
It is thought that humans came prepared to help in some way. We behave in ways that
appear to maximize our survival. But we are not just interested in having us survive, we are
also interested in having our genetic material survive (siblings, parents, etc). We are
motivated to protect them as well as ourselves. You help more based on who has more
Evolutionary Factors in Helping: Reciprocal Altruism
Increases the possibility that help will be given beyond kinship ties. Within our social unit,
there will be people not related to us, but it is also important to us.
A lot of experiments done on monkeys to see if they can behave altruistically. In monkeys,
they actually tend to behave altruistically towards other altruistic monkeys, and not the
ones who are not.
When we compare human beings to animals: while all species demonstrate kinship
selection when it comes to altruism, as soon as members are not related, the frequency at
which you see altruistic behaviour fall. It is only in humans that you see altruistic behaviour
that is not towards family members.
Rewards of Helping: Helping Others to Help Oneself
If a helpful situation is proposed and all that comes to mind is costs, then it will be turned
down. If rewards are made clear, it is more likely you will agree to participate.
Costs of Helping or of Not Helping
Schindler’s List: he helped in spite of the fact that it is associated with very high costs. If you
have a spouse that is elderly and you are taking care of them, you seem to be doing ok
emotionally until the spouse either no longer recognizes you, or they loose bladder and
bowel control. This leads to burnout of the caregiver; the relationship that you have with
the individual no longer exists anymore.
Altrusim of Egoism: The Great Debate
The answer will be generally that it all depends. There does seem to be cases under which