Chapter 8 – Altruism & Aggression
Aggression: is any behavior intended to harm another person that the target person wants
Altruism: is helping that is intended to provide aid to someone else without expectation of
any reward (good feeling may result is the reward). In animals, those who were the most
helpful were the ones less likely to survive = less offspring= evolutionary psychology.
Related to a theoretical perspective called sociobiology.
*cross cultural studies suggest that human aggression lacks 2 characteristics that are typical
of instinctive behavior to animals- universality and periodicity. Human aggression is not
universal or periodic.
EXPLAINING ALTRUISTIC AND AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR:
Instinct in Evolution: Aggression/altruism as instinctual. Sociobiology: (E. Wilson 1975).
Applies Darwinism ideas to animal/human behavior. Aggressive/altruistic behavior is
selectively targeted to increase the chances that our own genes will be passed on to
Individual-Based Explanations: Sociobiology Theory
Situational/Environmental Explanations: Social learning theory, Situational factors, Social
Norms. Ex: Bystander effect & social norms.
Bystander Effect: The greater the # of bystanders in an emergency, the less likely any one
bystander will help.
Explanations for the Bystander Effect: 1) Noticeability 2) Interpretation 3) Diffusion of
Responsibility 4) Help 5) Act = NIDHA
Shotland & Straw Experiment: (1979). Participants witness fight between man and women.
Two conditions (husband/wife; strangers). Husband/wife condition less likely to intervene.
Norms associated with social roles shape meaning of the situation.
Social responsibility Norm: General norm stating that individuals should help others who
are dependent on them. A weak source of motivation to help because people must be
reminded of it. Norm of Reciprocity: People should help those that have helped them and not help those
that have denied helping for no legitimate reason. People deny help because they believe
they wont be able to repay in some form.
Norms & Aggression:
Social Learning: Aggressive/altruistic behaviors are learned. Bandura (1961) doll study.
Many children learn aggressive behavior from their parents (harsh parenting practices at
ages 10-12 were more likely to be involved in violent dating relationships at age 16.
Violence & Media: Television: Moderate positive cor