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Psych 2310 – Altruism – November 5th.docx

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PSYC 2310
Saba Safdar

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Psych 2310 – Altruism – November 5 th  Question of motives o Why do we act to benefit others?  We care about others  This is an altruistic perspective  We care about others because we care about ourselves  This is an egoistic motivation  Ex. we help when we know its beneficial for ourselves  A look at history o There is a strong assumption in psychology of universal egoism  This is the majority view in economics, political science, and philosophy  Pure altruistic behavior does not exist  38 Witnesses o Silent witnesses: the kitty Genovese murder (1964)  Man stabbed kitty  She yelled for help  Man opens his window and tells attacker to leave her alone  Attacker changes into fedora, waits ten minutes then goes back to find her  Attack took 30 minutes o Alternative analysis: the probable of the 38 witness  Why don’t people help? o Darley & Latane came up with an ingenious answer. They suggested that after noticing the problem, people have to take a sequential decisions before helping  Sequential Questions before helping o What is the problem?  Latane and Darley’s Experiments  A state of pluralistic ignorance o Is it my responsibility?  Darley and Latane’s study  Diffusion of Responsibility o What can I do?  A sense of competence  If someone is drowning and you don’t know how to swim you are less likely to help  If you are in a rush your less likely to help  Psychological Answers o Three fundamental forms of egoistic Prosocial behavior  Gaining rewards  Kinship selection o More likely to help people who are genetically similar to you (evolutionary perspective)  Reciprocity credit  Positive mood o Mood maintenance (empathic joy) o Mood enhancement (negative state relief)  Decision rules in helping behavior o If its an every day situation, we help people
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