Ibiyemi Balogun Chapter 10 notes
Chapter 10:Prosocial behavior.
Why do people help?
Prosocial behavior is any act that is performed with the sole aim of benefiting anoth-
Altruism: is the desire to help another person, even if it involves a cost to the
helper. There is no benefit to the person being altruistic and sometimes there are
Evolutionary psychology: instincts and genes. Evolutionary people are predis-
posed to only want individual survival, the more adaptive and good genes are
passed on and the ones that cause disease are less likely to be passed.
Kin selection: the idea that behaviors that help a genetic relative are favored by
natural selection. People also want their relatives to pass on genes so they would al-
truistic towards them.
People are more likely to help relatives in life or death situations rather than ran-
People said they would help family but in more studies it shows that the closer
you are to a family member the easier for you to help that individual in crisis be-
cause of your closeness rather than because you are related.
The reciprocity norm: the expectation that helping others will increase the likeli-
hood that they will us in the future. As humans we are evolving into more selfish be-
ings living in our own caves trying to provide for our own. People think of doing
good things because they expect the person who is receiving this good deed to re-
Learning social norms: highly adaptive for individuals to learn social norms from
other members of society. People have learn the value norm of helping others
People help others because of the 3 factors above.
Social exchange: The costs and the rewards of helping
This theory talks about maximizing rewards and minimizing costs, so people help for
these reasons. Maximize rewards:
Reciprocity, if you help you invest in your future help and this maximizes
you future rewards.
gain social approval and self-worth which are rewards
People also help to relieve their distress as bystanders, because you be-
come aroused and upset when you see something happen to a person so you
help to relieve your distress
Costs of helping
Spend time on helping
Puts you in danger or pain or embarrassment Ibiyemi Balogun Chapter 10 notes
People help only when the benefits outweigh the costs. These theorists don’t be-
lieve in true altruists because according to them the entire world helps to be helped
or to feel good about themselves, just like how the rich help the poor.
Empathy and Altruism: The Pure motive for helping
When we feel empathy for the person we tend to show pure altruism. Empathy is
the ability to put ourselves in the shoes of another person, experiencing events and
emotions the way that person experiences them.
If you feel empathy then you help regardless of what you have to gain this is the
how can you tell if an act of kindness is truly altruistic?
Carol in a wheelchair experiment
People with high empathy helped regardless of if they saw her or not
People with low empathy only agreed to help when they thought they
would see her every week.
9/11 terrorist attack
high empathy helped immediately after and even a year after
low empathy helped immediately after and not a year after b/z their
distress had reduced.
Some people view helping as a social exchange thing because if they are
purely altruistic they will feel bad when they can’t be helpful which is normal
because we are human and we cant help everybody in every situation.
3 reasons we help include:
1. Helping is an instinctive reaction to promote the welfare of those genetically
similar to us.(evolutionary psychology)
2. The rewards or helping often outweigh the costs, so helping is in our self-in-
terest(social exchange theory)
3. Under some conditions, powerful feelings of empathy and compassion for the
victim prompt selfless giving (empathy-altruist hypothesis).
Personal Determinants of Prosocial Behavior: Why Do Some People Help
More than Others?
Individual differences: the altruistic personality which are the aspects of a person’-
s makeup that cause him or her to help others in a wide variety of situations.
They found in some situations people were helpful and in other not so
much, so you can’t say that because they have a altruistic personality they
will be more helpful than others in all situations. You have to take into consid-
eration the situational pressures, gender, culture, upbringing and even cur-
Gender differences: helping when it involves nurturance and commitment is more
likely to be done by women over men, while helping in more heroic, fire busting Ibiyemi Balogun