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Chapter 11

Chapter 11- Prosocial behavior.docx

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Queen's University
PSYC 241
Tara Mac Donald

CH 11: PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR Nov 22/11 1. Why do People help? - Prosocial behaviour: any act performed with the goal of benefitting another person - Altruism: the desire to help another person even if it involves a cost to the helper Evolutionary Psychology and helping - Kin selection: the idea that behaviours that help a genetic relative are favoured by natural selection by increasing the chances that their genes will be passed along not only by having their own children but by ensuring the genetic relatives have children. - Norm of reciprocity: The expectation that helping others will increase the likelihood that they will help us in the future - Also, the better one is at learning social norms, the better they are able to survive and be part of a culture - One norm learned is the value of helping others Motive for helping – Carol Marcy - Empathy: the ability to put oneself in the shoes of another person and to Batson experience events and emotions (joy and sadness) the way that person experiences them - Empathy-altruism hypothesis: when we feel empathy for someone, we’ll attempt to help for purely altruistic reasons - In the Carol Marcy experiment, Ps listened to an interview with Carol, who describes how both her legs were broken and it’s difficult for her to keep up with her coursework - After listening, you open an envelope and sees a note from the professor asking if you can help her by giving her your notes - In the high-empathy condition, you were told to imagine how Carol felt about what happened to her and how it changed her life. People in this condition felt more empathy - In the low-empathy condition, people were told to be objective and not concerned with how Carol felt. - Then, the researchers varied how costly it would be not to help Carol, so Ps were told she would be coming back to class and they would be reminded she needs help. In the low-cost condition, people learned that Carol would be studying at home and wouldn’t come to class. - In the high-cost condition, the low empathy people did help almost as much as the high empathy condition. - When empathy is low, social exchange concerns came into play 2. Factors that affect helping Personality traits - People with an altruistic personality have qualities that make them interested to help in a variety of situations - However, pressures of the situation and a person’s personality should be considered - In May and Hartshorne’s study, they observed how helpful 10 000 elementary and high school students were in a variety of situations o Ex. Willingness to find stories and pictures to give to hospitalized children, donate money, give small gifts to needy children. - The extent to which students were prosocial in one situation wasn’t related to how prosocial they were in another Gender differences - Males tend to help more in a dramatic heroic act whereas women are more likely to help in long-term - In Western cultures, the male sex role involves being chivalrous and heroic whereas females are expected to be nurturant and caring - Women tend to do more volunteer work than men Cultural differences - People in all cultures are more likely to help someone they define as a member of their in group, the group with which an individual identifies - In many interdependent cultures, the needs of an in-group members are considered more important than those of out-groups - In a study of prosocial behaviour – ‘simpatia’ – prominent in Spanish-speaking countries, simpatia refers to a range of social and emotional traits (being friendly, good natured, pleasant and helpful) - The researchers staged helping incidents in large cities in 23 countries and observed what people did - The percentage of people that helped was higher in countries that value simpatia. Good Mood & helping - Good moods lead to doing good because: 1. desire to maintain your good mood 2. You tend to interpret events in a sympathetic way, so instead of thinking someone is drunk, you might think they’re nauseous 3. You increase self-attention/ awareness and behave according to values and standards – since most of us value altruism and good moods increase our attention to this value, good moods increase helping behaviour - Feeling good might not lead to doing good if: - Costs of helping are high – financial or social cost- can make you feel bad - Positive thoughts about other social activities that conflict with helping, o i.e. if helping would interfere with a date. - Researchers asked for change for a dollar at a location with a pleasant – cookie/ Smells, mood and helping bakery – smell vs. at a department store – neutral smell - Found that places with pleasant smell evoked better mood and more people helped at these locations - Researchers left dimes in the coin return slot of a pay telephone and waited for someone to find the coins Coins left + mood - As shopper left the phone, a research assistant dropped the folder a few feet in front of the shopper to see whether he/she would stop and help him pick up his papers - Only 4% of people who didn’t find a dime hlped the man pick up his papers whereas 84% of the people who found a dime stopped to help Bad mood and helping - Negative moods can help us be more likely to help others if we take responsibility for what caused our bad mood, if we focus on others, and if we are made to think about our personal values that promote helping - People act on the idea that good deeds cancel out bad deeds - Negative-state relief hypothesis: people help to alleviate own sadness and distress - Negative mood does not lead to helping if we blame others for our bad mood, if we become self-focused (too focused on own emotions to notice others who need help) and if we are made to think about our personal values that do not promote helping (if we focus on values to do well academically instead of helping others) Churchgoer study - Found that churchgoers are more likely (40%) to donate money to a charity before Harris, Benson, and Hall than after confession (17%) - Had Ps take picture with expensive camera, all Ps had to do was press button and Broken Camera study the camera didn’t work Cunningham - Control: Researcher said the camera sometimes acts up - Exp: Researcher tells Ps she had jammed camera
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