PSYCH 2C03 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10, 11, 12: Pole And Polar, Grou, Douglas Palmer

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Published on 13 Apr 2015
Midterm No. 2 – Social Psychology
Chapter 10—ProSocial Behaviour
Why Do People Help?
Prosocial behaviour: any act performed with the goal of benefitting another person
Altruism: Desire to help another person or group of people, even if it involves a cost to
the helper
Evolutionary Psych: Instincts and Genes
Darwin: Natural selection favours genes that promote the survival of the individual
Evolutionary Psych: Attempt to explain social behaviour in terms of genetic factors that
evolved over time according to the principles of natural selection
1. Kin Selection: behaviours that help a genetic relative are favoured by natural selection
So, natural selection should favour altruistic acts directed toward genetic relatives
Some research indicates that humans may have the tendency to help those who are close
to us vs. related to us
2. Reciprocity Norm: to explain altruism, the expectation that helping others will increase
the likelihood that they will help us in the future
Related to survival values, such a norm may have become genetically based
Can be detected in infancy
3. Learning Social Norms: highly adaptive that individuals learn social norms from other
members of society
People are genetically programmed to learn social norms and one of these is altruism
*** Evolutionary psychologists believe that people help others because of these three
factors that have become ingrained in our genes!!
Social Exchange: Costs and Rewards of Helping
Argues much of what we do stemfs from the desire to maximize our rewards and
minimize our costs
Rewards of helping:
1. Helping someone is an investment in the future
2. Can relieve the distress of the bystander (can be aroused or disturbed by seeing people
3. By helping, we can gain social approval and increased feelings of self worth
So, people only help others when the benefits outweigh the costs
Empathy and Altruism: Pure Motive for Helping
Batson: argues that people help others for selfish reasons, but sometimes have purely
altruistic motives
Empathy: the ability to put ourselves in the shoes of another person, experiencing events
and emotions the way that person experiences them
Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis: The idea that when we feel empathy for a person, we
will attempt to help him or her purely for altruistic reasons, regardless of what we have to
If you don’t feel empathy, Batson says that social exchange theory comes into play….
In that you help the person based on what is in it for you
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According to the EAH, if empathy was high, people should have been motivated by
genuine altruistic concern and should have helped regardless of the costs
SUMMARY: Three Basic Motives Underlying Prosocial Behaviour
1. Helping is an instinctive reaction to promote the welfare of those genetically similar to us
(evolutionary psych)
2. The rewards of helping often outweigh the costs, so helping is in our self-interest (social
exchange theory)
3. Under some conditions, powerful feelings of empathy for others prompt selfless giving
Personal Determinants of Prosocial Behaviour
1. Individual Differences: Altruistic Personality
The aspects of a persons makeup that cause him or her to help others in a wide variety of
Findings indicate that those with altruistic personalities are not much more likely to help
others than those with low scores
2. Gender Differences in Prosocial Behaviour
Norms affect prosocial behaviours
Western cultures: men are expected to be chivalrous and heroic
 Women, expected to be nurturant and caring and to value close and long-term
3. Socioeconomic Status Differences
Being poor makes one more likely to help
People who have lower economic status are more concerned with the needs of others than
those who have higher SES  leads them to act in prosocial ways
4. Cultural Differences
People in all cultures are more likely to help someone they define as a member of their
ingroup—the grou with which an individual identifies
Interdependent cultures: people are less likely to help members of out groups than are
people in individualistic cultures
Effects of Mood on Prosocial Behaviour
1. Positive Moods—Feel good, do good
Good mood makes us look on the bright side of life
Second, helping other people is an excellent way of prolonging our good mood
Finally, good moods increase self-awareness, so increase the amount of attention we pay
to ourselves and this factor in turn makes us more likely to behave according to our
values and ideals
2. Negative State Relief: Feel bad, do good
Guilty: this kind of bad mood leads to an increase in helping
 eg. Acting like good deeds cancel out bad ones
Negative State Relief Hypothesis: people help in order to alleviate their own sadness
and distress
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3. Emotional Numbness: Feel Nothing, Do Nothing
When people are excluded from social groups, they are less likely to engage in prosocial
In findings, people who were rejected in a study seemed to experience a temporary
inability to feel anything too deeply
By shutting down emotionally, people avoided the pain of being rejected by others
Situational Determinants of Prosocial Behaviour
1. Environment: Rural Vs. Urban
Urban Overload Hypothesis: Because people living in cities are constantly being
bombarded with stimulation, they keep to themselves to avoid being overloaded by it
Population density is more related to helping than it is population size
2. Bystander Intervention: Latane and Darley
No safety in numbers
Genovese Murder
Steps to Deciding Whether to Intervene in An Emergency
1. Noticing an event: eg, how much in a hurry
2. Interpreting the Event as Emergency: eg. Pluralistic ignorance, assuming
nothing is wrong when no one else looks concerned
3. Assuming Responsibility: eg. Diffusion of responsibility, sense of responsibility
decreases as the number of witnesses increases
4. Knowing How to Help: eg. Person must decide what form of help is appropriate
5. Deciding to Implement Help: eg. Costs of helping such as embarro may be a
barrier to providing help
Another common cost is fear of doing the wrong thing and making matters worse
3. The Nature of the Relationship: Communal vs. Exchange
Communal: those in which people’s primary concern is the welfare of the other person
(eg. A child)
Exchange: those governed by concerns about equity –that you put into the relationship
will equal what you get out of it
Chapter 11 – Aggression
What is Aggression?
An intentional behaviour aimed at causing either physical or psychological pain
Hostile Aggression: act of aggression stemming from feelings of anger and aimed at
inflicting pain or injury
Instrumental Aggression: aggression as a means to some goal other than causing pain
(eg. Football player lineman tackling the ball carrier)
Is Aggression Instinctual? Situational? Optional?
Evolutionary Argument: aggression is genetically programmed into men because it
enables them to perpetuate their genes
1) males behave aggressively to establish dominance over other males
2) aggress “jealousy” to ensure that their mate are not copulating with others
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