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Altruism - chap13.doc

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PSYC 2310
Saba Safdar

Altruism Question of Motives - Why do we act to benefit others? a) We care about the welfare of others (altruistic motivation) b) We care about ourselves – we are helping ourselves (egoistic motivation) -Evolutionary perspective A Look at History - There is a strong assumption in psychology of universal egoism  This is the majority view in economics, political science, & philosophy - Greek philosopher Epictetus 38 Witnesses! - Silent Witnesses: The Kitty Genovese Murder (1964) - Alternative analysis: The Probable of the 38 Witness Why Don’t People Help? - Darley & Latane (1968) came up with an ingenious answer. They suggested that after noticing the problem, people have to take sequential decisions before helping. 1. What is the problem? - Don’t want to act too quickly if nothing is wrong - Latane & Darley’s experiments - State of pluralistic ignorance (we privately reject the norm around us, but we don’t do anything about it because we think everyone else accepts it) 2. Is it my repsonsibility? - “No one is doing anything, but should I?” - Darley & Latane’s study – participants who believed they were alone went to find the source of the noise & go help; participants who believed there were other people around did not help. - Diffusion of responsibility 3. What can I do? - A sense of competence (to help) Psychological Answers - Three fundamental forms of egoistic prosocial behaviour: 1. Gaining rewards - Kinsh
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