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Lecture 13

PSYC 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Glossary Of Riemannian And Metric Geometry, Prosocial Behavior, Mudita

Course Code
PSYC 1000

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PSYC 2310
Lecture 15: Tuesday March 18, 2014
Volunteerism (Egoistic motivations, Snyder 1992)
oSocially adjustive – motivated by the fact that others around you are
volunteering/want you to volunteering
oEgo defensive
oServes a knowledge function
oValue expression – reflects personality convictions
Question of motives
oWhy do we act to benefit others
Studies on motivation attempt to answer this
We care about the welfare of others = altruistic motivation
We care about ourselves = egoistic motivation
-Evolutionary perspective
Is it a prerequisite for an altruistic act to not derive any pleasure from it?
oStrong assumption in psychology/psychoanalysis of universal egoism
At base our ultimate goal relates to self-interest
Found in western philosophy as well
Economic and political behaviours (Mansbirdge, 1990)
oBasis of being alive = self-interest, drive to be alive
Why do people not act altruistically?
oCulture of rights vs duties and responsibilities
Silent Witnesses: the Kitty Genovese Murder (1964)
oMurdered while 38 neighbours watched
oWhen around other people, groups create their own definition of the situation,
more likely to determine that there is no emergency
oWhen people knew there was no one else to help – more likely to offer help
oIf there are three or four other people there – individuals are much less likely to

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Responsibility for helping defused when there are other people available
to help
oMurder and witnesses demonstrate effect of having other bystanders
oCollective diffusion of responsibility
oInformational social influence – look to others to define what to do in an
ambiguous situation
oBystander effect – more people around you, less likely you are to help
Why don’t people help (Darley & Latane, 1968) – after noticing problem, people have to
make 3 sequential decisions before helping
oDecide there is a problem/a need exists – what is the problem?
People are more likely to help in emergencies than non-emergencies
Verbal distress cues (screaming) are 75% effective
Unexpected and ambiguous events
State of pluralistic ignorance – a situation where a majority of group
members privately reject a norm, but assume (incorrectly) that most
others accept it
oDecide that it is our responsibility to act
Presence of other bystanders effects the decision we make to help r not
If others are available, we are less likely to help
Diffusion of responsibility
oDecide that there is something we can do to help
Based on ability/own knowledge
Sense of competence
Alternative analysis: The Parable of the 38 Witnesses (Manning, Levine, & Collins, 2007)
oNot all 38 people there were eyewitnesses
Some heard screams
Heard it at different volumes
oThose who did see only saw brief glimpses
oCalled police immediately
Stated by witnesses that testified

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Kitty Genovese story functions as a parable about the dangers of groups
oBias within social psychology
oCauses us to believe we lose all sense of self
oStory told in same way as a warning of what happens when we are in groups
oDoes not reference the positive benefits of groups (Peace Corps, volunteering,
Lecture 16: Thursday March 20, 2014
Why do we help
oAssumption has been egoistic altruism – what do we gain from helping?
Fundamental forms of egoistic prosocial behaviour
oGaining some kind of reward
Kin selection/inclusive fitness
-Survival of the fittest
-What happens when individuals put their own lives it risk to help
-An individual can improve own genetic success by helping
relatives with a stronger chance of passing on genetic bases
-Assumption causes some people to think of this an untrue
altruistic act
Reciprocity credit
-Help someone else with the expectation of this act resulting in a
positive gain for the helper
-Just world: people get what they deserve
Positive mood
-Mood enhancement: negative state relief, doing something nice to
make up for a bad feeling you have
-Mood maintenance: empathetic joy, already feeling good and want
to maintain that good feeling
oAvoiding punishment
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