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Chapter 12

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Psychology 2070A/B
James M Olson

Chapter 12- Helpful Social Behaviour Helping Behaviour Prosocial behaviour any action that provides benefit to others  Also includes actions not necessarily intended to assist others: following rules in game, being honest, cooperating Helping behaviour that is intended to assist another person Types of Helping  Casual helping—telling someone the time Strangers  Emergency helping—assisting at an accident  Substantial/personal helping—lending $500 Family/  Emotional helping—comforting someone Friends Three Major Dimensions of Helping Behaviours Vary  Planned vs. spontaneous  Seriousness  Giving what you have vs. doing what you can The Evolution of Altruism? Inclusive fitness the principle that some social behaviours have been selected during the course of evolution because they increase the survival of our genes  Animal evidence o Ex. Adult zebras will fight their attackers, even lions, in order to protect their young o Ex. Female ground squirrels sometimes emit high pitched alarm calls when predator nearby—brings attention to self  Human evidence o Ex. Would you lend your car to your 80 brother/grandfather/cousin/acquaintance? 70 o ex. Archival evidence of wills in B.C.—more items 60 50 bequeathed to those more closely related genetically 40 30 10 0 o Ex. Factors of how much we help kin across different High Moderate Low None situations—“everyday helping”—doing favour for (brother)(grandfather(cousin) (unrelated) them and “life-and-death”—willingness to rescue them from a fire Reciprocal altruism even non-kin helping could have evolved as long as the benefits gained by the target of a helpful act were repaid to the E veryday helper at some later time 2.6 2.4 Life or Death  Major assumption: our ancestors lived in 2.2 close, interdependent groups w/ low 2 dispersal rates 1.8 T1.6ency to Help 1.4 1 10 18 45 75 Age of Target 2 Empathy the ability to comprehend how 1.6 E veryday another person is experiencing a situation 1.4 Life or Death 1.2  More likely to experience empathy with 1 similar individuals to us b/c their similarity Tendency to Help makes it easier to imagine what they are 0.6 0.4 feeling Good Poor Health of Target Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis the idea that feelings of empathy for a person can lead to behaviour that is motivated solely by wanting to help that person  Testing hypothesis against an egoistic interpretation of empathy—very difficult o Find a person needing help and feel empathy—you can help but doing so will cause discomfort for yourself o Ex. Students paired w/ confederate (video-taped reactions of “student “ named Elaine) perform task under aversive conditions (performing memory tasks while receiving electric shocks at random intervals)  Manipulated the following: two conditions designed to create high-empathy, two created low empathy and make it either easy or difficult for the participant to avoid watching o Low helping rates occurred when low empathy was induced and escape from watching suffering was easy o Combination of high empathy and easy escape reflects altruistic motivation when people help  Opposition to this via other studies: amount of helping directly related to extent of observer’s reported sadness—more sadness observed, more likely help was offered. When observers were led to believe that helping wouldn't relieve their sadness, they no longer offered to help Factors Influencing Helping Social Norms  Culturally defined guidelines about proper/improper behaviour  Norm of reciprocity—we should give back any favours we received Personal norms guidelines that have been internalized to become expectations for oneself in particular situations o Ex. Norm of social responsibility- guideline that if possible, we should help those who need help Models  Helpful actions by other people  Effect of models can be seen in parent’s influence on their children’s helpfulness o Ex. Changing a flat tire Blaming the Victim  Victim’s responsibility for getting into the situation  Help victims only when they did not get themselves into trouble in the first place Just world theory a model proposing that humans need to believe that the world is a fair place where people generally get what they deserve  Upon threats, solution is to Help victim(s) directly—can restore justice to situation o Belief can interfere with helping—when people read about a suffering victim, thoughts related to justice + injustice occur spontaneously o If helping isn’t an option, people may protect their belief by convincing themselves that the victims did something to cause their own suffering/victims are “bad people” who somewhat deserve to suffer—people sometimes look for reasons to blame victims  System justification—people want to believe that the society in which they live is fair o Desire to justify social system can lead people to derogate victims and to enhance (perceive as better) people who are successful Good Mood  Positive mood from any cause causes you to be more helpful o Ex. Find a quarter in coin return slot of public telephone participants had chance to help someone pick up dropped papers—those who found dime 90% likely to help vs. 4% o Ex. Students induced to feel happy/sad/neutral, then given opportunity to help non- profit organization  Benefits either low: help for Little League, or high: American Cancer Society  Costs either low: sit at donations desk, or high: collect door-to-door  Results: happy participant more helpful than neutral no matter what costs and benefits, sad mood were the same as in neutral mood except they helped more when cost low and benefit high—perhaps to make themselves feel better Guilt  Feeling partly responsible for the victim’s situation  Upon feeling guilt, people will try to rectify the victim’s misfortune and will be more helpful to those who they did not affect o Ex. Bump into someone who drops what they’re carrying o Ex. Participants informed about answers by previous participant—experimenter asked if participant had knowledge about experiment, at end, experimenter asked if participants could volunteer some help  Participants who lied about knowledge of study offered more help at the end Gender and Helping Gender differences are consistent w/ gender stereotypes  Males help more than females when situation requires agentic attributes and physical strength (e.g. heroic acts to aid strangers)  Females help more than males when situation requires communal attributes (e.g. supportive helping of friends and family) o Ex. 35 studies that compared help given to male + female victims by men + women  Men helped more when victim was female  Women offered equally to males + females  Women more likely to seek help (psychiatric, medical)  Both men and women prefer to seek emotional support from females (71% of men, 76% of women) Individual Differences in Helping: Altruistic Personalities  Some just have a more helpful personality Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) a measure reflecting the extent to which people feel empathy in response to others’ experiences Four Dimensions of Empathy: o Perspective taking o Empathic concern o Personal distress response for others o Fantasy generation (hypothetical imagining)  People who score high on IRI more likely to help others  Cialdini argued that empathy motivates people to help in order to reduce their own distress— egoistical move Altruism vs. Egoism Egoistic motivation a motive for helping in order to obtain rewards/avoid punishments  Makes you feel good about yourself Altruistic motivation a motive for helping purely for the sake of providing benefit to another person  Helping motivated solely out of concern for anther’s welfare  Some have argued that helping behaviour that looks like altruism is the result of selfish motivations o Ex. Experiment manipulated 2 variables: level of empathy (high, low), how difficult it was to escape a distressing situation (easy, difficult). Students paired with other female (named Elaine) to work on a task, either told they were similar (high empathy) or dissimilar (low empathy) o Had to watch Elaine receive painful shocks, after 2 shocks, Elaine stopped procedure and said she had bad experience w/ shocks, experimenter suggested they stop, Elaine said no—experimenter asked participants if they wanted to trade places o Manipulated whether it was easy/hard for participant to escape if she did not exchange places—some could simply leave (easy) or would have to stay and watch (difficult) Dissonance and Helping  We might sometimes be motivated to help another person because of cognitive dissonance  Cognitve dissonance = an unpleasant state of arousal that occurs when we realize that our behaviour has been irrational (e.g., counter to our attitudes) 10  Participants either empathized (or not) with an adolescent 9 8 who had cancer (imagined how the cancer patient felt) 7 Reminde
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