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Chapter 13

Social Psych Chapter 13

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PSYC 2310
Saba Safdar

PSYC*2310 CHAPTER SUMMARY Chapter Thirteen: Altruism and Pro-social Behaviour • During the Second World War, more than 1,800 Jewish refugees found shelter and safety inAlbania, a predominantly Muslim country • Albania issued 400Albanian passports to help the refugees • Pro-social behaviour—any behaviour that has the goal of helping another person How Do Personal Factors Influence Helping? • Most people do things on a regular basis to help others: they give money to benefit schools, religious organizations, and social and political causes; they volunteer their time with animal shelters, foster children, and soup kitchens; they jump into cold water, burning buildings, and crushed cars to save people • In one study by researchers at the University of British Columbia, participants were asked to unscramble 10 five-word sentences. In one condition, these sentences contained words that were conceptually related to religion, such as God, prophet, and sacred • Participants then completed the game with another participant (actually a confederate of the experimenter) in which they could reward their partner with anywhere from zero to 10 one-dollar coins (and keeping the remaining coins for themselves). • As predicted, people who unscrambled the sentences containing cues to religion were more generous than those who solved the sentences with the neutral words: they left, on average, $4.22 compared to $1.84, and 64 percent left $5 or more, compared to only 12 percent leaving $5 or more in the neutral condition Evolutionary Factors • According to the evolutionary perspective, people act this way when such behaviour will help ensure the survival of their genes, which can then be passed on • In other words, your act of altruism might lead to your own death, but if this act results in the survival of your child, your genes will live on • An “altruistic gene” would continue to be passed on, because parents who lacked this gene would be less likely to have children who survived to pass on their own “selfish genes” • Kinship selection—the idea that we’re more likely to help those we are genetically related to (parents may sacrifice themselves for children) • According to the reciprocal pro-social behaviour perspective, people help others to increase the odds that they, in turn, will be helped by those others. In other words, you’re probably more willing to loan your class notes or give a ride to your friend behaviour you’d like to depend on that person for help at some time in the future • This tendency to help those who help us is shown even among animals that live in social groups, such as monkeys, cats, and fish • Men and women vary in their likelihood of helping in different types of situations • Men are more likely than women to help in situations that call for brave, heroic behaviour (e.g. rescuing someone from a burning building) • The vast majority of people who are publicly recognized in the media for some type of heroic behaviour, such as stopping a robbery or rescuing a drowning child, are men • One explanation for why men help more often in dangerous situations is that men experience fewer costs for helping than women do—men who help are larger and have more training than men who don’t help, suggesting that they expect helping to cost them less • Men may also benefit from some behaviour—women prefer risk-prone brave males over risk-aversive non-brave males, and men are well aware of this preference • Lips (2008) argue that gender differences in helping behaviour are largely related to gender role factors and the situation where helping is required. Men and women are more helpful in situations where helping is viewed as gender-role appropriate Personality • In general, people increase in empathy and pro-social behaviour as they mature, but individuals also vary considerably in their frequency and types of helping • People who are generally altruistic share some common traits. First, they are high in empathy, meaning they tend to understand other people’s perspectives, and respond emotionally to other people’s experiences • Empathy—the ability to understand other people’s perspectives and respond emotionally other people’s experiences • In turn, people with higher levels of empathy engage in more pro-social behavior, including donating money to charitable causes and spending time helping people in need • Individual differences in empathy and altruism appear even in children: children who feel sad when they see others feeling sad or being picked on are more helpful to children in a hospital burn unit than those who show less empathy for others • Another personality factor that influences helping in an individual’s level of moral reasoning. When deciding whether to engage in a particular action, some people focus on their own needs and the concrete consequences of their actions (i.e. whether they will avoid punishment or receive a reward) • Others are more concerned about adhering to moral standards regardless of external social controls (i.e. whether their actions will help someone else, even if they conflict with a person’s own motives) • Moral reasoning—a personality factor that describes the extent to which a person’s willingness to help depends on larger moral standards rather than the person’s needs and the expected consequences for him or her of helping • Parents’direct teaching or pro=social behaviour can influence children’s moral reasoning. Parents who teach their children about helping through perspective taking and empathy are more likely to foster higher levels of moral reasoning than those who focus on helping as a way of gaining rewards of avoiding punishment • Similarly, parents who use positive behaviour, including positive feelings toward their child as well as positive discipline strategies (i.e. firmness, reasoning, calm), create more pro-social behaviour in their children over time Religion • Some religious teachings emphasize the importance of engaging in cooperative and pro- social behaviour • Other religions emphasize the importance of “brotherly love”, and encourage people to treat others as they would like other to treat them • Religious beliefs are also associated with more altruistic behaviour in some studies • Religion does not always lead to more helping. In fact, people who hold strong and conservative religious are very likely to help those who they believe deserve help, but not to help those whom they consider undeserving How Do Situational Factors Influence Helping? • March 13, 1964, a 28 year old woman named Kitty Genovese was returning home after work to her apartment in New York City at 3 am. Then she was within 32 meters of her apartment building, an attacker stabbed and raped her on the street. Two times the attacker ran away, in fear that someone was coming, and both times he came back and continued to stab her. It was a loud, long, tortured death.Although it was three in the morning 38 neighbours in her building were awakened by her screams and watched what was happening.After 30 minutes, one person called the police, but by then it was too late • It’s suggested that not all of the 38 neighbours were eyewitnesses and some only head the attack. Evidence suggest that only about half a dozen saw the incident and did not watch for the full 30 minutes • The three witnesses who testified in court said that they didn’t perceive the situation as an emergency as Kitty Genovese and Winston Moseley were standing close together and none of the witnesses saw any stabbing • In 1964 there was no 911 system and contacting the police was therefore more difficult then, than now, and the evidence also suggests that such phone calls were not always welcomed by the police Decision-Making Process Model • According to the decision-making process model developed by Latané and Darley (1970), a number of features of emergencies make it difficult to get help. First, because emergencies are rare and unusual events, people don’t have a lot of experience in handling emergencies, and therefore may not have direct personal experience in how to cope • Decision-making process model—a model that describes helping behaviour as a function of five distinct steps • Second, because emergencies themselves differ widely, even when people have direct experience in handling one type of emergency, they’re not likely to have experience in handling other types of emergencies, which all require different types of help • Third, emergencies are unforeseen. Because they occur suddenly, people aren’t able to think through various options and develop plans of action • According to the model of the decision-making process, helping behaviour occurs only when a person takes five distinct steps—and if the person at any point fails to take a particular step, he or she will not provide aid • These five steps are to notice that something is happening, interpret it as an emergency, take responsibility for providing help, decide how to help, and provide help o Notice something is happening: hard to do because people are self-focused. People are likely to give help when they witness a clear and vivid emergency than when they see something less clear o Interpret it as an emergency: often interpret events as “non-emergencies” and fail to help. 1993 two ten year old boys in England carried a two year old boy out of the mall while the boy fought. People thought it was siblings fighting and didn’t intervene. Two miles away the boys beat the toddler to death. People often look to the crowd to see how others are responding, and therefore fail to interpret an event as an emergency themselves  If you’re unsure whether a person is truly in need of help, you may look to see what other people are doing before deciding how you should act. However, if each person is looking to others to judge how to interpret the situation, and no one wants to be seen as the person who overreacts, the person in need may receive no help at all. This phenomenon is called pluralistic ignorance  What type of things help people label events as an emergency? One clear sign is a direct cry for help, or scream. Clear cues to distress increase the likelihood that the person will get help o Take responsibility for providing help: you need to take responsibility for providing help. Even when people recognize that a situation is indeed an emergency, they may assume other people in the situation will help, and that they themselves therefore don’t need to act. This is referred to as diffusion of responsibility, the belief that other people present in a situation will assume responsibility  Diffusion of responsibility—the belief that other people present in a situation will assume responsibility, which contributes to the bystander effect  Bystander effect—the situation whereby people are less likely to help in emergency situations when there are other people present than if the person who could help is alone, resulting in a decreased likelihood of help being given o Deciding how to help: call 911, provide CPR, and jump into a pool. People with relevant skills help more than people without such skills or training (i.e. man falls off ladder, people who alone are more likely to help than people who are in a group, however people with nursing skills are more likely to help regardless) o Providing help: this step can be difficult due to audience inhibition. In other words, people can be reluctant to help because they might fear making a bad impression in front of others, either by appearing stupid or overly cautious  What factors can get rid of audience inhibition? Being familiar with both the context and other people in that context. • Strategies for getting help: what can you do to make sure you get help if you experience or witness an emergency while you’re in a large group? o Identify one person in the crown and call out to that person directly. This strategy eliminates the problems caused by diffusion of responsibility, because that specific person is then identified as the person who needs to provide help o Clearly label the situation as an emergency. This approach eliminates the problem caused by misinterpretation of the situation o Give instructions on how exactly the person should help (i.e. call 911) Arousa
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