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University of Toronto St. George
Jason Plaks

Andrew (youngjik) Lee Altruism: Helping others - motivation to increase anothers welfare without conscious regard for ones self interests Social Exchange - we exchange material and social goods to minimize costs and maximize rewards - Social exchange is self-interest disguised as helping and empathy is genuine altruism - Why do people volunteer? Demonstrate own values, understand peopleskills better, to be more social, enhance career prospects, protect ego (reduce guilt, means of escape), enhance self-esteem - Behavior is attributed to inner disposition when there is lack of external explanations, when external causes are obvious, we credit cause, not person - Egoisms ultimate goal is to increase ones own welfare - Batson argues that our willingness to help is inated by both self-serving and selfess considerations (empathy for those close to us and those we identify with) - When empathy comes into play we focus not on our own distress but on the sufferer, sympathy and compassion motivate us to help the person for their own sake - Exposed to anothers distress + Feel distressed = egoistic motivation (need to reduce own distress) = behavior (help to reduce my own distress) - Exposed to anothers distress + Feel empathy = altruistic motivation = behavior (help reduce others distress) - Escape situation = egoistic distress, going out of the way to help = empathy - Genuine altruism: helping rival groups, helping although no one is aware of it, persistence in helping even when distressed mood is alleviated by mood-xing drug Social norms - norm of reciprocity: to those who help us, we should return help, not harm - When people cannot reciprocate, they feel threatened and demeaned by accepting aid - People with high self-esteem are reluctant to get help - norm of social responsibility: people should help those who need help without regard to future exchanges - Usually applied to those whose need appears not due to own negligence - Responses are tied to attributions whether it is controllable or not - Get what you deserve Evolutionary psychology - Kin selection: favoritism towards those who share our genes - Acts of love for close kin are not totally unexpected but acts of true altruism is unexpected and often honored - Genetic self-interest also predicts reciprocity - Cheaters, traitors are universally despised - Reciprocity works best in small, isolated groups, often exposed to each other
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