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Prosocial Behaviour.docx

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Christian Jordan

Prosocial Behaviour Helping Others - What is it that determines when people decide to help others, and when they don’t? Prosocial behaviour: any act performed with the goal of benefiting another person  An act/behaviour Altruism: desire to help another person even if it involves no benefit, or even a cost, to the helper  A motive Social-Exchange Theory  People engage in interactions that maximize their own rewards and minimize their costs  People will only help when the rewards outweigh the costs of helping o Distress; social approval; self-worth; reciprocity  That is, there is no true altruism – there is always self-interest underlying good deeds o People may only help someone because seeing someone in distress causes people to feel uncomfortable. Alleviating the discomfort, in a sense, is a reward. Empathy and Altruism Empathy: the ability to experience events and emotions the way another person experiences them Empathy-altruism hypothesis: empathy leads to helping for purely altruistic reasons, regardless of personal gains  Example: helping someone pick up there books after dropping them, you feel empathy for their situation which leads you to help them collect their things.  What distinguishes between social-exchange theory and empathy-altruism hypothesis is whether or not people experience empathy Looking for altruism  Participants listen to “radio programs”  Get one pilot program to hear  Interview with Carol, who was in a bad car accident. Now in a wheelchair & returning to school  Will participants help Carol by sharing their course notes with her?  Empathy manipulation o Study looked at whether participants were willing to help – one group was told to try to understand her situation and put themselves in Carol’s shoes. The other was told to be as objective as possible o Participants were also told if they could expect her to be in their class. o When induced to have a high degree of empathy, participants would help regardless of the social-exchange theory – people more likely to help when people experience empathy  Recall The Kitty Genovese Murder o Bystander effect – the more people present, the less likely you are to help someone Bystander Intervention  Darley and Latané – Unconvinced by the apathy explanation  Thought the number of bystanders might have been the real issue  More bystanders = less likelihood of helping  Study: Discussion group through headphones  Participants anonymous; experimenter will not listen to the discussion  Spoke about problems one at a time  One participant has a seizure  Manipulated # of others participating  How many people helped? o Group Size % in 1 minute % in 6 minutes 2 (subject, victim) 85%
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