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PSY220 Lecture 3

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University of Toronto St. George
Jason Plaks

THE ALTRUISM CONTROVERSY Is there such thing as “true” altruism? - volunteering helping someone with no rewards - acting out of ‘kin/self interest” - con: may seem altruism - emotional benefit of feeling good > power positive reinforcer Why do people help? 1.learning 2.arousal 3.norms 1. Behaviourism: Helping is the by-product of the individual’s conditioning history. “altruism” vs. “prosocial behavior” - strict learning approach: reinforced/conditioned to help others in the past, direct modeling or persuasion, judging behavior is the most important part 2. Arousal model: A prominent one is the cost- reward model (Dovidio et al., 1991; Piliavin et al., 1981). 1.Seeing distress of another person activates arousal 2. If this arousal is attributed to the other person’s distress – unpleasant 3.Therefore person is motivated to reduce the unpleasantness (e.g., by helping) – when you see someone suffering, you exhibit not a specific identifiable emotion Cialdini et al. (1987) “negative state relief model”: 1.Arousal – ambiguous 2.labeling that arousal with a particular emotion 3.the label that’s generated is cued by situational features Cialdini et al. (1987) found that people are less likely to help someone if immediately before the opportunity to help they receive praise or money, or if people are led to believe that helping does not improve mood. - people feeling sadness and guilt will find ways to elevate their negative state (helping) which is one way to elevate - Does Cialdini believe in pure altruism? No. egoistic desire to relieve ones own distress vs. - argues true altruism exist to some extent, agrees with Cialdini’s perspective as well Batson (1991) “empathy-altruism hypothesis” 1. negative state relief does occur, but: 2. so can perspective-taking, which leads to “empathic concern” - Perspective-taking is a cognitive behavior that will develop at a certain time behavior (critical): imaging the world form another persons perspective - Empathic concern: more of a altruistic motivation - Batson focused more on individuals other then looking at groups of individuals 3. there are individual differences: for a certain (significant) subset of subjects, receiving rewards before the helping opportunity did not diminish their likelihood of helping. Batson (1981) -Upon arrival, Ps told that upcoming study involves people’s task performance under unpleasant conditions. One of the Ps will perform a task while receiving mild electric shocks, the other will observe. -Lots drawn (actually rigged) – you win, other “subject” (actually a confederate) loses, gets hooked up to a scary machine. -After receiving several “trial” shocks, “Elaine” squirms with pain, and tells the experimenter about a frightening childhood experience when she was thrown from a horse against an electric fence. -It’s more unpleasant for her than for the average person, but she’s willing to go on. -Then: Experimenter has the bright idea: (addressing confederate) “Maybe since your case is unusual, it would be better for you to trade places with the other subject?” -SO: Would subjects be willing to suffer in place of someone else? One independent variable: Ease of escape without helping): "Although the worker will be completing between two and ten trials, it will be necessary for the observer to observe only the first two." vs. "The worker will be completing between two and ten trials, all of which the observer will observe." All subjects then learned that Elaine agreed to complete all 10 trials, and they were given the chance to help her by trading places after the second trial. Therefore, in the easy-escape condition, subjects who did not help would not have to watch Elaine take any more shocks; in the difficult-escape condition they would. THE DESIGN: Empathic concern Ease of escape Hi Lo Difficult Easy Results - Regardless of whether it was easy or hard to escape watching Elaine suffer, the empathic group wanted to help and said they would take her place. - Those in the low empathy group only helped when it was difficult to escape watching her – they had little choice - Low empathy group most likely helped only because they’d feel bad having to sit through eight more shocks….did it to prevent feeling guilty - It is the combination of high empathy and EASY ESCAPE (easy NOT to help) that reflects true altruistic motivation. Summary of Batson’s model: Perspective Empathy Reduce other’s -taking distress Perception that someone needs help Not p-t Personal Reduce own distress distress - perspective taking and non-pt individuals in the end are all providing help, but they are doing so for different reasons Cialdini’s new tack: “Oneness” Y M o M e e u & You You’re not You’re suffering. suffering. WHO CARES? - it may look like altruistic motivation to help, but the helper is merging identity (your suffering becomes my suffering) - Not true altruistic, because I am helping you to elevate my pain - Who cares? Knowledge for its own sake, pin pointing certain reasons as to why some individuals will chose to help, important for the functioning of our society (good behavior and blaming for bad behavior), rewards and punishments through how to help was determined (through true altruistic or egoistic influences) - Sincerity of the helper *Social Norms: - Normative theories emphasis this idea that people help others based on expectations of social learning that is appropriate - Social responsibility norm: people are suppose to help others who are needy or dependent on them - Equity/reciprocity norm: people will help those who have helped them - Overlaid on existing factors BYSTANDER INACTION Latane & Darley study: “I could really-um use some help so if somebody would give me a –um a little h-help er-um, could somebody um help-um he-help me (choking sounds)…I’m gonna die…I’m gonna die um help ah ah a seizure.” (chokes, then quiet). Result: the larger the “group,” the less likely subjects were to go and help. When group size was 6, only 38% helped. - Help was influenced by the size of the group - The larger the group of bystander the less people will help Latane & Darley: 1. Noticing 2.Interpreting (proper interpretations of behaviors) 3.Taking responsibility (diffusion of responsibility) 4. Determining the best course of action 5.Social Factors (may stop you from helping, social awkwardness, not wanting to address attention to oneself) remarkable on how anyone will help anyone * non helpers are not that bad, just has a chain of social-psychological factors that must be met and considered before help can be administrated The role of time pressure/”cognitive load” (lots on your mind, little time to do it in): The Good Samaritan Study (Darley & Batson): (a) seminary students told they will give a talk before an audience (b) topic: either the Good Samaritan Story (known to all seminary students) or a topic of their choosing (c) walk to neighboring building where talk will take place (d) 1/3 told “ahead of schedule,” 1/3 told “behind schedule,” 1/3 told “on schedule.” (e) On the way, all subjects passed man slumped in doorway groaning Results, % of Ps who stopped to help: Good Sam Other topic Ahead of schedule 63% On-time 45% Behind 10% Remember the:* refer to page 7 responsibility norm: People are supposed to help others who are needy or dependent on them) 2.equity / reciprocity norm: People will help those who have helped them. (social responsibility norm can be abused in the case of overhelping) Gilbert & Silvera (1996): Variable #1 ½ of Ps motivated to help a candidate get a job (he was likable) ½ motivated to hinder this candidate (he was unlikable) Variable #2 Ps expectation of the candidate’s ability (high v. low). * Ps informed that the candidate would be evaluated on the basis of his performance on a job aptitude test. * Ps given a chance to provide hints to the candidate on the test. * They were also informed that the employer w
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