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Chapter 9

PSYC 215 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Domestic Violence, Pluralistic Ignorance, Kin Selection

7 pages44 viewsFall 2011

Course Code
PSYC 215
Donald Taylor

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PSYC215 Chapter 9 Notes
Altruism: A motive to increase anothers welfare without conscious regard for ones self-interest
Social-exchange Theory: The theory that human interactions are transactions that aims to maximize
ones rewards and minimize ones costs
Egoism: A motive (supposedly underlying all behaviour) to increase ones own welfare. The opposite of
altruism, which aims to increase anothers welfare
Reciprocity Norm: An expectation that people will help, not hurt, those who have helped them
Social-responsibility Norm: An expectation that people will help those dependent upon them
Kin Selection: The idea that evolution has selected altruism toward ones close relatives to enhance the
survival of mutually shared genes
Empathy: The vicarious experience of anothers feeling; putting oneself in anothers shoes
Bystander Effect: The finding that a person is less likely to provide help when there are other bystanders
Door-in-the-face Technique: A strategy for gaining a concession. After someone first turns down a large
request (the door-in-the-face), the same requester counteroffers with a more reasonable request
Moral Exclusion: The perception of certain individuals or groups as outside the boundary within which
one applies moral values and rules of fairness. Moral inclusion is regarding others as within ones circle
of moral concern
Overjustification Effect: The result of bribing people to do what they already like doing; they may then
see their action as externally controlled rather than intrinsically appealing
Chapter Notes:
Altruism is selfishness in reverse. An altruistic person is concerned and helpful even when no
benefits are offered or expected in return
Several theories of helping agree that in the long run, helping benefits the giver as well as the
receiver. One explanation assumes that human interactions are guided by a social economics.
We exchange not only material goods and money but also social goods love, services,
information, and status. In doing so, we use a minimax strategy minimize costs, maximize
Social-exchange theory does not contend that we consciously monitor costs and rewards, only
that such considerations predict our behaviour
As if needing an excuse for their compassion, people will donate more money to a charity when
offered a product, such as candy or candles. Even when they dont want (and would never go
buy) the product, it defines a social exchange
Rewards that motivate helping may be external or internal.
o Offering someone a ride hoping to receive appreciation or friendship, the reward is
external. We give to get. Thus, we are most eager to help someone attractive to us,
someone whose approval we desire.
o Internal rewards are those which helps increase our sense of self-worth such as
donating blood or why people will do kindnesses for strangers whom they will never see
again. The positive effect of helping on feelings of self-worth is one explanation for why
so many people feel good after doing good
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B.F. Skinner brought forth an interesting idea that the social-exchange theory imply that a
helpful act is never truly altruistic that we merely call it altruistic when its rewards are
inconspicuous? We credit people for their good deeds only when we cant explain them. We
attribute their behaviour to their inner dispositions only when we lack external explanations.
When the external causes are obvious, we credit the causes, not the person
A weakness in social-exchange theory is that it easily degenerates into explaining-by-naming.
Because we attempt to explain the true selfish motivation behind ones compassionate act,
egoism the idea that self-interest motivates all behaviour has fallen into disrepute among
Egoisms ultimate goal is to increase ones own welfare; which differs from altruism, whose goal
is to increase anothers welfare
The benefits of helping include internal self-rewards. Near someone in distress, we may feel
distress. A womans scream outside your window will arouse and distress you. If you cannot
reduce your arousal by interpreting the scream as a playful shriek, then you may investigate or
give aid, thereby reducing your distress
Distress is not the only negative emotion we act to reduce. Throughout history, guilt has been a
painful emotion, so painful that cultures found ways to relieve it through animal and human
sacrifices, offerings of grain and money, penitent behaviour, confession, and denial
Through many experiments, the consistent findings have shown that people will do whatever
can be done to expunge the guilt and restore their self-image
Our eagerness to do good after doing bad reflects both our need to reduce private guilt and
likely to redeem ourselves with helpful behaviour when other people know about our misdeeds.
But even when our guilt is private, we act to reduce it
All in all, gilt leads to much good. By motivating people to confess, apologize, help, and avoid
repeated harm, it boosts sensitivity and sustains close relationships
The inner rewards of altruism feeling good about oneself after donating blood or helping pick
up someones dropped materials can offset other negative moods as well. Thus when an adult
is in a guilty, a sad, or an otherwise negative mood, a helpful deed (or any other mood
improving experience) helps neutralize the bad feelings
The feel bad do good effect occurs with people whose attention is on others, people for whom
altruism is therefore rewarding. If not self-preoccupied by depression or grief, sad people are
sensitive, helpful people
Happy people are helpful people. However, as the happiness/good mood wore off, helpfulness
Why is it that sad people are sometimes extra helpful and that happy people are also helpful?
This can be attributed to several factors at work:
o Helping softens a bad mood and sustains a good mood. A positive mood is in turn,
conducive to positive thoughts and positive self-esteem, which predispose us to positive
behaviour. In a good mood, people are more likely to have positive thoughts and to
have positive associations with being helpful. Positive thinkers are likely to be positive
o We often help other snot because we think of the self-interest but rather because
something tells us we ought to. This is because of social norms which prescribe proper
behaviour, the oughts of our lives. Two social norms that motivate altruism include the
reciprocity norm and the social-responsibility norm
o The reciprocity norm is one universal moral code that says: To those who help us, we
should return help, not harm. Reciprocity within social networks helps define the
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