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Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Altruism: Helping Others.docx

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Hilary B Bergsieker

Chapter 8: Helping Others Altruism- a motive to increase another’s welfare without conscious regard for one’s self-interests Social-exchange theory- the theory that human interactions are transactions that aim to maximize one’s rewards and minimize one’s costs implies that a helpful act is never truly altruistic Rewards may be internal (increase sense of self-worth) or external (donate money to improve image) Doing good or donating money triggers the reward center in the brain WEAKNESS: circular argument. why did she volunteer? Because of reward? How did she know there would be reward? Why else would she volunteer? egoism- a motive (supposedly underlying all behaviour) to increase your own welfare. The opposite of altruism, which aims to increase somebody else’s welfare Guilt People will do whatever can be done to get rid of guilt EXPERIMENT: If lie to experimenter about knowing about experiment, more likely to help experimenter grade questionnaires after to extinguish guilt Doing a good deed (donating blood, helping somebody who dropped something) can relieve bad moods Execptions:  Negative mood does not produce compassion  Depression  Profound grief o Experiment: subject hear recorded tape of somebody close dying of cancer o Either focus on their own grief or their friends o 25% of self-focused helped experimenter after o 83% of other-focused helped experimenter o Both equally touched, but other-focused found it rewarding to help others Feel good-do good Happy people are helpful people – no matter what age, gender, race, class… The happier a sales associate is (like after getting compliment) the more eager they are to help Helping softens a bad mood and sustains a good mood SOCIAL NORMS Sometimes we help because we feel we ought to Ex) return wallet, protect combat buddies Reciprocity norm- an expectation that people will help, not hurt, those who have helped them works in long, sustained relationships more than fleeting meetings (which produce selfishness) most effective as people respond publicly to deeds earlier done to them No favour favour Private Public Social responsibility norm- an expectation that people will help those dependent upon them Collectivist cultures (like india) support the social-responsibility norm more than individualist, and will show support when victims are non-life-threatening situations and outside of family Western cultures usually only show support to victims of circumstance (natural disaster) more than if they created their own problem (through laziness, immorality, lack of foresight…) If attributed to uncontrollable event, we help, if controllable, we don’t help Gender: Women receive help more then men, because seem more dependent Women offer help equally to men and women, but men ususally only offer help to women Women also seek help more often. EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY – help survive & pass on genes 1. Kin protection Kin selection- the idea that evolution has selected altruism toward one’s close relatives to enhance the survival of mutually shared genes 2. Reciprocity On organism help another and expects something in return. (baboons groom, bats feed) Works best in small, isolated groups that will often see each other (rural not big city) What about mother Teresa or soldiers? Group selection : group sof mutually supportive altruists last longer (ants, bees) Alternative: human societies evolved ethical and religious rules that serve as brakes on the biological bias toward self-interest Theory Level of Expectation Mutual “Altruism” Intrinsic Altruism social norms sociological reciprocity norm social-responsibility norm social exchange psychological external rewards for distressinner rewards helping for helping evolutionary biological reciprocity kin selection Emotion motive behaviour behaviour (possibly
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