WEEK 7: 14.02.17.
CHAPTER 15: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
Module 15.3 Helping and Harming Others
Group membership fundamental need of human life but for any of these groups to
function properly they must figure out how to get along
Prosocial behaviors are those behaviors that promote social functioning, group
cohesion, or the wellbeing of the individuals within the group
Antisocial behaviors may serve an individual or small group at the expense of the
EMPATHY, ALTRUISM, AND HELPING
Words like humanity or humanitarian describe feelings and actions of compassion
and that this quality is uniquely human
Empathy is the emotional concern one individual has for another’s wellbeing.
o A psychological characteristic that makes empathy possible is perspective
o A second factor is the value we place on other people’s welfare
Empathy is evident in man physiological processes:
o Humans have specialized nerve cells that could possibly serve as a basis
for empathy ▯ mirror neurons, respond to actions and expressions of others
and correlate with the ability to understand another’s intentions and
o Neurons involved in pain perceptions are active when a person sees
another in pain or even if they imagine the pain
o There’s also been measurements of increased emotional responses, i.e.
faster pulse rate and slight changes in skin moisture giving us clammy
Physiological responses matching those of the person experience distress is a
phenomenon called shared physiology
SocialCognitive Approaches to Helping
At the individual level, the willingness to help may depend on the situations and
can depend on the individual
In addition to empathy, group membership influences effect on helping
Socialexchange theory states that an individual will consider the costs and benefits of
helping another before he or she acts.
Altruism is helping others in need without receiving or expecting reward for doing so.
o From a socialcognitive perspective, altruism can be explained using
social responsibility norm: society teaches us that the value of helping
goes beyond the benefits an individual may receive, and that individuals
who cannot help themselves require special help
1 Evolutionary Approaches to Altruism
Concept of costly signaling explains acts of altruism as signals to others that the
helper would be a valuable mate
Why would anyone help others if all it did was jeopardize evolutionary success?
Answer lies in the concept of kin selection, which predicts that altruistic behavior
is most likely to occu