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Lecture 10

PSYCH 2C03 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Dime (United States Coin), Reduced Affect Display, Payphone

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Jennifer Ostovich

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Prosocial Behaviour: any act performed with the goal of benefiting another
Altruism: the desire to help others, even if it involves a cost to the helper.
(A) Evolutionary Psychology:
1. Kin Selection
- a recent analysis of wills found that genetic relatedness was a strong predictor
of estate allocations
- people are more likely to help relatives in life-or-death situations, but are more
likely to help nonrelatives if the situations was non-life-threatening (both men and
women, as well as American and Japanese participants follow this rule in life-
threatening situations)
- some evidence from real emergencies is consistent with this
- Korchmaros and Kenny found that participants were most likely to help the
family members to whom they had the closest emotional ties, rather than those to
whom they were most closely related (degree of relatedness did not predict
willingness to help – degree of closeness did)
2. Norm of Reciprocation
- infants are more likely to give a toy to a confederate who had intended, but was
unable, to give them a toy earlier, than to the confederate who had been
- infants were as likely to give the toy to a confederate with helpful intentions as
to the confederate who had actually been helpful (i.e. giving them the toy earlier)
3. Learning Social Norms
- people are genetically programmed to learn social norms, and one of these
norms is altruism
- some social psychologists disagree with the evolutionary approach, but do
agree with the fact that altruistic behaviour can be based off of self-interest
(B) Social Exchange Theory: argues that much of what we do stems from the
desire to maximize our rewards and minimize our cost.
(C) Empathy and Altruism:
Batson’s empathy-altruism hypothesis:
1. observe someone in need of help
2. do you feel empathy for this person?
3. a) no you will help this person only if it is in your self-interest to do so (that is,
if rewards outweigh costs)
3. b) yes you will help this person regardless of whether it is in your self-
interest to do so (that is, even if costs outweigh rewards)
Batson et al.
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