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Chapter 14

PSYC215 Chapter 14 Summary (Bona Kim).docx

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McGill University
PSYC 215
John Lydon

Bona Kim PSYC215 Chapter Summary CHAPTER 14 - Altruism and Cooperation (pgs. 530-559) ALTRUISM - The chapter opens with a story about a national hero named Wesley Autrey who saved a film student from suffocating while having a seizure. Then, Autrey jumped in front of an oncoming train to save the film student after he had fell onto the train tracks. o This behavior is an example of altruism, which is unselfish behavior that benefits others without regard to consequences for the self. o As humans, we feel compassion, which leads us to helping others in need; even if it is at our own cost. o Yet, we don’t always act in an altruistic fashion because altruism can be inhibited by self-preservation and fear of embarrassment (fear of overreacting to a situation, for example). - People help others out of selfish motives, including to reduce their felt distress and to gain social rewards such as praise, attention, or gratitude. Empathic Concern: A Case of Pure Altruism? - Dan Batson argues that there are 3 motives to any altruistic behavior: - 1. Social reward motive (a selfish motive): o Motivated by the social rewards that the altruistic person will gain by being altruistic, such as praise and gratitude or even tangible rewards (a trophy, per se). - 2. Personal distress motive (selfish): o We help others in distress in order to reduce our own distress. This happens because when we see others in pain, our pain-related brain regions will activate as well, so if we help others, the pain related activity would cease. - 3. Empathic concern (unselfish): o Feeling and understanding what that person is experiencing and having the intention to help the person in need. Empathy versus Personal Distress - How to differentiate between empathic motives and personal distress motive? - Batson et al. (almost like Mailgram’s experiment) o Participants told that they would interact with another participant of the same sex o The other participant was required to watch the confederate receive only 2/10 shocks, and the participants were allowed to leave the experiment while the confederate finished the study o Participants had the choice to leave after the confederate received two shocks or were “obligated” to stay throughout the experiment. o If the participant agreed to leave after the two shocks, leaving the confederate go through the other 8 shocks, it meant that they were influenced by personal distress (selfish) o If the participant was not allowed to leave after the two shocks, they provided self- reports, which indicated whether they were distressed or felt empathy for the confederate.  Those who were empathetic, stayed in the study and took on more shocks in the place of the confederate in order to help them; and those who were distressed, took less shocks. Anonymous Altruism  Batson et al. asked female participants to form impression of a confederate based on info that person wrote about herself o Hypothesis: empathy promotes altruistic behavior o Janet Arnold (a student confederate) wrote two notes to the participant expressing supposedly honest info about herself o The task of the listener/participant: form an accurate impression of Janet as possible Bona Kim PSYC215 Chapter Summary o Empathic concern was manipulated o Low-empathy condition: the participant was told to be as objective as possible when reading the notes, to concentrate on the facts at hand o High-empathy condition: participant was told to imagine as vividly as possible how the communicator felt o 1 note: janet confessed to feeling out of place at her new home at university nd o 2 note: janet expressed a strong need for a friend, and she asked the participant if she’d like to hang out o experimenter gave the participant a form that described another “long-term relationship study” and asked whether the participant would like to spend time at some later date with Janet  in the low-social evaluation condition, janet’s notes were delivered in sealed envelopes and the experimenter didn’t read them  participant indicated how much time she would spend with janet on a form that she enclosed in a sealed envelope to be sent to the professor conducting the study  neither janet nor the experimenter would know the response  in the high-social-evaluation condition, both the experimenter and the participant read Janet’s notes, and Janet and the experimenter would know the answer  the critical dependent measure = # of hrs the participant volunteered to spend with Janet  participants in the high-empathy condition volunteered to spend more time with her, even when no one would know of their action - A form of pure, undiluted altruism is based on empathic concern—the feeling of concern for another person after observing and being moved by that person’s needs. Experimenters have found clever ways to distinguish between people who help for empathic and nonempathic reasons. Those who help for egoistic distress avoidance reasons show different physiological patterns than those who help for empathic reasons. Physiological Indicators of Empathy - Empathy has distinct physiological signature o Can be used to predict if person will behave altruistically - Nancy Eisenberd et al.: participants of different age groups watched a video of woman and her children who had been in an accident. The children were said to have missed school to recover o Facial expressions of participants and heart rate were recorded o Younger participants decided that they would miss recess in order to help the children with their homework (notice the sacrifice of leisure time) o Children and college students who had empathic concern had physiological signs  Eyebrows pulled in and upward  Concerned gaze  Decelerated heart rate (opposite of flight or flight response)  More likely to help out o Participants experiencing distress  Pained wince on face  Heart rate acceleration  Less likely to help out - thus, empathic concerns produces more helping behavior than distress - it also appears to do so in part through a different physiological response Bona Kim PSYC215 Chapter Summary Empathic Concern and Volunteerism - Empathic concern also motivates volunteerism, actions people take to enhance the welfare of others (for example, tending to the sick or dying when there is no expectation of compensation) with no expectation of compensation o Self-reports of empathic concern can predict likelihood individual will engage in volunteerism o Suggested that volunteerism is good for health and longevity o Empathy can be passed on from parents to children  Oliners interviewed over 100 rescuers from WWII, individuals who risked their lives to save jews during the Nazi holocaust  in the course of these interviews, rescuers reported that their parents and grandparents frequently told stories from their own lives and from their culture in which altruism was a theme  altruism was a central theme in the books the family read and the teachings they discussed  altruism was explicitly invoked as an important ethical principle Box 14.1: Focus on Social Trends - Are Young Adults Today Less Empathetic than those of previous generation? - Steven Pinker: shows that over the eons, violence has been steadily decreasing while sympathy with our fellow human beings is increasing o Evidence suggests that quite recently, levels of empathic concern may have declined - Sara Konrath et al o Compiled the results from 72 studies involving 13,737 students in the U.S. who had filled out a self-report scale that measures empathic concern (7-item scale) o Ppl who often feel high levels of empathic concern tend to be interested in other ppl  Have more positive attitudes towards other species  They act in more prosocial ways  More likely to give money to homeless people  Carry someone’s belongings  Volunteer for charity  Return incorrect change o synthesized studies spanning 30 yrs (1979-2009) to compare how empathetic college students are today with how empathetic college students were 30 yrs a go  college students’ reports of how much empathy they feel for other people have dropped significantly over the last 30 yrs Situational Determinants of Altruism - Kitty Genovese: assaulted and killed, but no one came to help o Bystanders felt empathy, yet did not help her because they did not think it was so serious (thought she was fighting with her lover, etc.) Darley and Batson’s Good Samaritan Study - John Darley and Daniel Batson’s “Good Samaritan study o Inspired by the Good samartian patable o Subtle situational factors such as whether you are on time or late, determine whether you will help someone in need o Asked students attending Princeton Theological Seminary to give a talk to undergrad students at another location on campus o C1: seminary students were told that the topic of the talk would be the jobs that the seminary students typically find upon graduating o C2: give a talk on the tale of the Good Samaritan o Given a map of the Princeton campus and showed them how to get there  C1: (no-hurry condition) told they have plenty of time  C2: (moderate-hurry condition) told they should hurry a little  C3: (high-hurry condition) told they were already a bit late Bona Kim PSYC215 Chapter Summary - on their way they passed a man who was groaning o Being late reduced the likelihood of a seminary student’s helping a victim from 60% to 10%. - Situational factors can determine whether or not you will behave altruistically. See chapter 1. o In summary, people who are in a hurry are less likely to help others than those who are not rushed. Rushing/not rushing are one example of many situational factors. Audience Effects - Whether someone offers help to a victim or not (bystander intervention) also depends greatly on the number of people who observe the incident. o Bystander intervention: giving assistance to someone in need on the part of those who have witnessed an emergency. Generally reduced as number of observers increase. Each person feels that someone else will probably help. - The presence of others leads to a diffusion of responsibility, in which no individual takes responsibility for helping the victim. o Diffusion of responsibility: reduction in the sense of urgency to help someone involved in an emergency or dangerous situation under the assumption that others who are also observing the situation will help o Presence of other people strongly inhibits helping behavior - John Darley and Bibb Latane study of audience constraints on helping o College students sat in separate cubicles discussing the problems associated with livinf in an urban environment o Engages in this conversation over an intercom system, which allowed them only one participant to talk at a time o One of the discussions, a confederate, described his difficulties in adjusting to urban life and mentioned that he had problems with seizures esp under stress o C1: participants were led to believe that their discussion group consisted of only 2 people  85% of the participants helped o C2: the convo was among 3 people  62% of the people in C2 helped o C3: audience was the largest: the conversation apparently involved six people  31% of the people helped o the presence of others, at least of strangers, strongly inhibits helping behavior - in another study, people witnessed a victim who was in danger/in pain - in other studies, participants witnessed a staged theft in a liquor store on the beach o 75% of people helped if alone o 53% helped when they were in presence of others - Mario Mikulincer and Phil Shaver o Presence of friends may increase altruistic behavior o Participants first completed a task in which they judged whether ten strings of letters made up actual words o were presented with the name of an acquaintance, of a friend they didn’t feel a close attachment to, or of a person (usually a friend) to whom they felt strongly attached o In the third condition, the investigators reasoned the prosocial tendencies associated with a sense of secure attachment should be activated o Participants then moved on to “another study” in which they were given the task of evaluating another participant, actually a confederate, who had to complete a sequence of upsetting tasks o They watched the confederate do scary things i.e. hold a rat, spider etc. o The confederate gave up and asked whether the actual participant might take over o Those participants who had been exposed to their friend’s name felt more emphathic concern for the confederate than participants who were exposed to other names o They were also more likely to volunteer to hold the spider o Whereas groups of strangers appear to inhibit altruistic responses to emergencies, friends can evoke our nobler tendencies Bona Kim PSYC215 Chapter Summary Victim Characteristics - Victim characteristics that increase the likelihood of being helped include: o whether the victim is similar to the target o whether the victim screams and makes his/her distress known, and o whether the victim is female - Studies: o Screaming victims will receive help 75-100% of the time from bystanders o Silent victims will receive help 25-40% of time from bystanders  So when the need of help is more visible, people tend to be more prone to helping. o BUT people are more discouraged to help when they assess that the person requires more assistance  Study: bleeding versus not-bleeding confederate.  95% of the time the non-bleeding (does not require much assistance) was helped and 65% of the time the bleeding (requires more assistance) was helped.  So the more cost, the less altruistic behavior. - Gender of the victim o Women tend to receive more help than men  Women in feminine attire  gender stereotype  2 reasons:  women dressed in feminine attire fir the gender stereotype of being more dependent and helpless and in need of help, and  Male helper may view the intervention as a foot in the door to a romantic involvement - People more likely to help people of same ethnicity o African-americans responded with greater empathy and more altruistic inclinations when viewing the suffering of African-Americans as opposed to Euripean Americans o Suffering of one’s own crowd activated the medial prefrontal cortex, which is associated with empathic response o Other species appear to respond altruistically only to their own group Construal Processes and Altruism - People unsure of context of situation will be reluctant to help Helping in Ambiguous Situations - When a victim’s distress is not salient, the victim is less likely to receive help - People are more likely to help when they know the events prior to the victim’s distress o When the situation is vivid and dramatic, the bystander is more likely to notice what is happening and to understand what is going on o In the more vivid condition, participants saw another person, a confederate, faint and slowly regain consciousness o In the less vivid condition, the participant saw only the aftermath of the incident - a confederate just regaining consciousness o Participants were much more likely to come to the individual’s aid when they saw the entire event unfold, so that they could understand the full nature of the problem - the surrounding social context also plays an important role in determining whether bystanders conclude that assistance is needed o Pluralistic ignorance occurs when people are uncertain about what is happening and do nothing, often out of fear of embarrassment in case nothing is really wrong. Their reaction reinforces everyone’s erroneous conclusion that the events are innocuous. o one study that examined the role of pluralistic ignorance in bystander intervention  participants were asked to fill out questionnaires in a lab  smoke started to fill the lab from beneath a door  the participants did so in one of three conditions  alone: 75% of them left the room and reported the smoke Bona Kim PSYC215 Chapter Summary  in a room with two passive confederates exhibiting the calm demander that was intended to produce pluralistic ignorance o participants were less likely to assume that something was wrong. Only 10% reported the smmoke  or with two other genuine participants o only 38% of the participants left to report the smoke  participants construed the smoke differently in the three conditions  participants who did not report the smoke told the experimenter that they did not believe it to be dangerous  participants who reported the smoke construed it as a sign of danger Combating Pluralistic Ignorance - Bystanders are less likely to experience pluralistic ignorance if they see someone else concerned rather than neutral to a situation. - This hypothesis was tested in a study o Participants were led through a construction-filled hallway to a lab o As they walked to the lab, they passed several stacks of wooden framed used in construction o Once in the lab, the participants were to draw a model horse o They suddenly heard a loud crash and the workman crying out in pain o C1 (control condition): participant was alone  90% of the participants who were alone left the room to help o C2: 2 participants were seated facing each other as they drew the model horse o C3: participants were seated back-to-back  20% of the participants went to help o not having others’ initial reactions to help interpret the incident as a true emergency, these participants collectively assumed that nothing was wrong - John Darley’s 2 ways of getting help when you need it/factors affecting bystander intervention o 1. Make need for help clear, so that they don’t ignore the situation o 2. Select specific person to help, so that you don’t wait for someone else to take charge Culture and Altruism Altruism in Urban and Rural Settings - Nancy Steblay reviewed 35 studies that permitted comparisons of helping rates in rural and urban environments o 17 opportunities to offer assistance were created experimentally, typically in naturalistic settings o examined whether people would grant simple requests, intervene to stop a crime, help people in need o Rural: higher levels of empathic concern - more likely to help others than people who live in urban settings o Population size also played a role: more likely to be helped in a town of 1000 people than of 5000  Once the population rises above 50,000, there is little effect of increasing population - Accounts for rural-urban difference in helping rates o Amount of stimulation in modern urban environments is great  People can’t attend to it all  Narrowed focus  Less likely to act altruistically o Diversity hypothesis  More likely to help similar people  urban areas are more diverse  Chances of helping similar person increases in rural areas o More people around in urban areas  Diffusion of responsibility may discourage people from helping Bona Kim PSYC215 Chapter Summary Social Class and Altru
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