November 25, 2013.
Lecture 9 - Prosocial Behaviour: Is Helping Selfish?
Writing Tutorial 4: Editing and Revising
• Specific Issues:
o Weak thesis – no clear stance, scope not appropriate
E.g., “In this paper I will discuss the impact of long distance relationship
stereotypes on satisfaction.”
• Not taking an argumentative position
• Sets up as a literature review, no direction
• Renders topic too broad – what kind of impact (+/~), what kind of
E.g., “The focus of this article is to show the different ways
advertisements influence self-concepts in youth, ultimately affecting their
• Sets up paper as a summary (list) or review paper
• Not taking a clear stance or argument
• All the ways ads can influence youth – too broad
o Lack of logical argument
Be specific with theses and topic sentences; avoid vague statements
Maintain the focus; each paragraph should have one focus/one argument,
make sure there are sentences linking seemingly separate arguments so as
to tie everything together
o Lack of sufficient paraphrasing and summarizing (plagiarism?)
Don’t use quotes, try and paraphrase and summarise where you can
o Not proper APAformatting of references
• Understanding Revising
o Writing improves through writing regularly.
o Assignment should be broken into small chunks.
o The first draft won’t be perfect.
o Extensive revision is a critical part of writing.
o Wait to edit until draft is complete.
o Revising: Macro level, big picture; To make major changes to your writing
Change your thesis
Move large chinks or paragraphs around – reorder, combine
Change examples and evidence
Rewrite paragraphs, e.g., introduction
o Editing: Micro level, small details; To improve and/or correct minor errors
Grammar, spelling, syntax
Correct citations/resource list
Fix awkward sentences, etc.
o Checklist 1. Re-read and Review
• Your paper – you haven’t seen it for a while
• The feedback you received – both global comments on rubric and
local comments in doc
• The assignment instructions – sometimes students write very good
papers, but they don’t achieve the goals of the assignment – did
you do what you were asked?
• Make a plan/list of your revisions – if you don’t understand a
comment, ask TA
2. Have you fulfilled the intention of the assignment?
• Performed the kind of thinking the assignment sheet asked for
(e.g., analyze, argue, compare)?
• Used concepts from the course?
• Written the type/style of paper called for (read through posted
• Provided adequate evidence (e.g., research supporting claims)?
3. Overall Organization
• Introduction makes it clear to reader where your paper is headed,
o Tip: Ask a friend whether they know what you will discuss
in your paper after reading intro
• Sections are in the right place – no major jumps in logic between
paragraphs and paragraphs don’t repeat much information
o Tip: Make a reverse outline – in columns write sentence
describing the point of each paragraph – is there a clear
logical (non-repetitive, no gaps) progression to your paper?
• Flow or transitions between paragraphs are smooth - ……
4. Edit and Polish
• Move to editing grammar, spelling, punctuation
• Is the paper in proper formatting (e.g.,APA), font size, spacing,
page numbers, etc. (see assignment specifications)?
• Are you using the right voice/language – formal or more
• Phrasing and sentence structure….
o Print out and read from the page rather than the screen
o Read your writing aloud
o Have someone else read your writing aloud
o Proofread as well as spell check – you’ll catch errors your
Altruism and Prosocial Behaviour
• Prosocial Behaviour: Behaviour whose immediate goal is to help or benefit others o Can take many different forms:
Community service, etc.
• What factors do you think contribute to people’s intent to donate
• Empathy is a huge factor
• Positive attitudes toward the behaviour (of organ donations)
• General desire to help others
• Knowing someone who has donated or received an organ
o Why do people engage in prosocial behaviour?
Altruism: Prosocial behaviour motivated by the desire to benefit others
for their own sake, rather than for personal rewards
Egoism: Prosocial behaviour motivated by the desire for personal rewards
(even if the reward is feeling good for having helped someone)
• Is Helping in our Genes?
o Three ways in which helping others could be evolutionarily beneficial:
1. Future Benefits
• If we help someone now, they might help us later
2. Benefits to Kin
• Helping kin (family) who share your genes, means that you’ve
increased the likelihood of their survival and passing those shared
genes on to the next generation
• E.g., alarm cries in animals the “crier” takes big risk, but it
increases the chance his family will survive an attack
3. Benefits to the group
• Groups with Prosocial rather than selfish members are often more
likely to survive, particularly in bad times (e.g., famine, conflict)
• Ensuring that one’s group survives increases the changes of one’s
own survival, and the survival of one’s kin
• So, Is Prosocial BehaviourAlways Selfish?
o E.g., Philippines Typhoon: Canadian citizens donated $20 million, government
agreed to match citizen donations. Lots of donations from people who are not just
Phillipino (people of the Muslim and Jewish community who have families that
have suffered loss). People want to donate because they identify with the sufferers
rather than because of statistical representations of the horrible things happening.
o Negative-state Relief Model of Helping:
According to this model, people hate watching others suffer, and so we
help others in order to avoid these negative feelings therefore all
prosocial behaviour is selfish
If we can reduce our distress by avoiding the victim, then we will! o Empathy-altruism Model: According to this model, people can experience two
types of emotion when they see someone in trouble:
Personal distress: alarm, anxiety, fear
• Leads to either egoistic helping, or escape
Empathic concern: sympathy, compassion
• Leads to altruistic helping