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)
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
- 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)
- Three fundamental forms of egoistic prosocial behaviour:
1. Gaining rewards