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PSYC 2310 (454)
Saba Safdar (379)

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PSYC 2310
Saba Safdar

Altruism – November 1 , 2012 Question of Motives  Why do we act to benefit others? o We care about welfare of others (altruistic motivation) o Altruistic – you don’t have any concern about your own well being, you want to help someone else regardless of the consequence to you o We care about ourselves (egoistic motivation)  Evolutionary perspective A Look at History  There is a strong assumption in psychology of universal egoism o This is the majority view in economics, political science, and philosophy  Greek philosopher Epictetus  Didn’t study altruism till the 60s – there was no altruism o People engage in prosocial behaviour to benefit themselves 38 Witnesses!  Silent witnesses: the Kitty Geneovese Murder  Had a hunting knife, stabbed her in the back, she screamed o Screamed that she’d be stabbed  Someone opened their window and shouted down “Leave her alone”  The killer left, and she walked to a back lot, collapses at the bottom of the stairs  Killer waited 10 minutes, drove to kitty and found her again  She screams again and again, wakes the people in the building  Attack lasted 30 minutes, went home washed his knife and went to sleep  Too late neighbour cradles her and she bleeds to death in the ambulance  Found him later after he had robbed a apartment, he confessed that he killed the woman  Murdered not out of anger or anything Cyclist in Toronto  saw someone littering from a SUV, picks up the garbage and throws it back into the Suv  the SUV parks, gets out, and starts beating her  during the week, middle of the day, lots of people are around, people are taking photos with their phones, not doing anything Omar Wellington – Toronto  beaten and stabbed for five hours in front of his house  people closed the curtains because they didn’t want to witness it and be a part of the situation Why don’t people Help?  Darley and Latane (1968) came up with an ingenious answer, they suggested that after noticing the problem, people have to take a sequential decisions before handling  Sequential questions before helping o What is the problem?  You have to notice the problem  A state of pluralistic ignorance  You are aware of the correct norm but you think everyone else’s norm is different than what you know  Is it my responsibility?  Diffusion of responsibility – if you see other people around you will
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