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Chapter 13

Social Psychology (Cdn Ed) Sanderson & Safdar Chapter 13

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University of Toronto St. George
Ashley Waggoner Denton

Chapter 13: Altruism and Prosocial Behavior -Prosocial behavior: any behavior that has the goal of helping another person; like sharing, cooperating, comforting • Can be motivated by desire to improve one’s own circumstances or motivated by desire to help another person’s well being (e.g. no though of benefit to self) -Altruism: helping without expectation of personal gain How Do Personal Factors Influence Helping? -cueing religious words can increase helping: • Study: Ss primed with words related to religion (God, prophet, sacred etc.) or not primer (control condition); then did game with confederate in which they could reward their partner from 0-10 one dollar coins and keep the rest for themselves; Ss primed with religious words more generous than control ($4.22 vs. $1.84) • Suggests that ppl who are more religious are more likely to engage in prosocial behavior Evolutionary Factors -evolutionary perspective says ppl act in altruistic ways to ensure the survival of their genes which can be passed on -kinship selection: the idea that we’re more likely to help those we are genetically related to • “I would lay down my life for two brothers or eight cousins” – JBS Haldane Evidence for Kinship Selection -Study: uni students read hypothetical dilemmas in which someone needed help (e.g. two of family members needed help and could only help one of them); either life or death situations or everyday favors; researchers manipulated the type of relationship: degree ofe genetic relatedness, emotional closeness, perceived similarity and frequency of interaction • Found relationship factors (emotional closeness and similarity) influenced helping • We help those who we feel are similar to us and emotionally close; tend to feel similar and close to our relatives, more inclined to help them -evidence that in life-or-death situations, ppl more often choose to give help to those who are (1) closely related than those distantly related, (2) to the young over the old (3) to the healthyover the sick and (4) premenopausal women over postmenopausal Evidence for Reciprocal Prosocial Behavior -ppl show prosocial behavior to nonrelatives (no sharing of genetic material); Reciprocal Prosocial Behavior Persecptivesays that ppl help others to increase the odds that they in turn will be helped by those others -this tendency to help those who help us is shown even among animals in social groups (monkeys, cats, fish); helping others leads them to reciprocate, this type of cooperation among group members increases survival Personality Factors -Ashton’s study researched helping behavior in context of the five major personality dimensions: opnneness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability • Found agreeableness was the trait that predicted altruism – both “kin altruism” (behaving to benefit genetic relative’s chances of survival at some cost to one’s own chances) and “reciprocal altruism” (behaving that benefits unrelated individual at some expense to oneself with expectation that the recipient will return such assistance) o But, kin altruism corresponded negatively with emotional stability while reciprocal altruism correlated positively with emotional stability -generally, ppl show increase in empathy and prosocial behavior as they mature Empathy -people who are generally altruistic are high in empathy: the ability to understand other ppl’s perspectives and respond emotionally to other ppl’s experiences -ppl with higher levels of empathy engage in more prosocial behavior (e.g. donating money to charity and spending time helping ppl in need) -differences in empathy and altruism seem in childrenalso: children who feel sad when they see other feeling sad are more helpgul to children in hospital burn unit than those who show less empathy -evidence for genetic basis for empathy: link between empathy and behavior is more similar in identical twins than fraternal twins Moral Reasoning -Moral Reasoning: personality factor that describes the extent to which a person’s willingness to help depends on larger moral standards rather than (1) the person’s needs and (2) the expected consequences for him or her of helping -the use of higher level reasoning is associated with greater empathy and altruism -children who use higher level moral reasoning more likely to choose to anonymously donate part of their earnings from study to children in UNICEF poster -parent’s direct teaching of prosocial behavior can influence children’s moral reasoning • Parents who teach children about helping through perspective taking and empathy (e.g. if you don’t share toys, she’ll feel sad) more likely to foster higher levels of moral reasoning than those who focus on helping to gain rewards/avoid punishment (if you don’t share toys with that child, ill be disappointed) • But, although we learn morality, we are to some extent “hardwired” in our ability to learn it Religion -uni students who describe themselves are more religiously committed spend more time volunteering with campus organizations -(before, said that cueing religious words can increase prosocial behavior) -but, religion does not always lead to more helping: ppl who have strong conservative religious beliefs likely to help thos e they believe serve help but not help those whom they consider undeserving • E.g. less likely tot help those whose behavior contradicts behaviors that are acceptable to their religion (e.g. homosexuals, single mothers etc.) How Do Situational Factors Influence Helping? -Kitty Genovese murder was the historical context that led to study of why ppl fail to help when they should • But recent research says that not all 38 neighbors were eyewitnesses; some only heard the attack • Non of them watched Kitty for the full 30 minutes • The eyewitnesses who testified in court said they didn’t perceive the situation as emergency, non saw any stabbing • In 1964 there was no 911 system and contacting police more difficult than today; and phone calls were not always welcomed by police Decision-Making Process Model -Decision-Making Process Model: a model that describes helping behavior as a function of five distinct stages: Step 1: Do you notice that something is happening? (No = don’t help) Step 2: Do you interpret the event as an emergency? (No = don’t help) Step 3: Do you personally take responsibility for providing help? (No = don’t help) Step 4: Can you decide how to help? (No = don’t help) Step 5: Provide help -features of emergencies make it difficult to get help: • Ppl don’t have experience handling emergencies, no direct personal experience (link between attitude and behavior stronger when you have direct personal experience with something) • Emergencies are unforeseen; suddenly, so ppl aren’t able to think through and develop plans of action Step 1: Notice something is happening -noticing event can be difficult for ppl who live in big city (e.g. “urban overload” hypothesis of Milgram) -ppl more likely to give help when they see clear and vivid emergency • Study: more ppl helped when they directly saw person fall down flight of stairs than just seeing only the aftermath of such an event (e.g. person holding and rubbing ankle) Step 2: Interpret it as an Emergency -Study: more ppl tried to stop man from assulating woman when they thought the two were stranger (woman calling “I don’t know you”) than when they thought they were romantically involved (“I don’t know why I married you”) – greater ambiguity = less help -ppl often look to the crowd to see how others are responding and fail to interpret event as emergency tehsemlves (might result from pluralistic ignorance – the assumption that because others are not reacting, there is no emergency) -Study: Ss placed either individually or in a group of 3 in a room to fill out questionnaire; then smoke started pouring in the room • Alone Ss all stood up to investigate the source of smoke but in most groupcases, no one reported the smoke until researchers ended the study -Clear cues to distress increase likelihood that people will get help (direct cries for help aid ppl to label events as emergency) • Study: researchers created ambiguous emergency (loud crash only) and unambiguous emergency (loud crash and groan of pain) • Students who heard unambiguous emergency helped regardless of whether alone or in group; but for ambiguous emergency, more likely to help if they were alone than if in group Step 3: Take Responsibility -even when they recognize that a situation is emergency, may assume that others will help -diffusion of responsibility: the belief that other ppl present in a situation will assume responsibility; contributes to the bystander effect -bystander effect: ppl’s tendency to be less likely to help in an emergency situation when there are other ppl present than when the person witnessing emergency is alone; as # of potential helps increase, likelihood of help decreases -Study: Ss talked in groups of 3, or 6, or just with one other person; one participant (confederate) then asked for help, saying that he was going to die; most Ss who were alone with that person got help immediately, as did all who were with just one other person; but less percent of those with two others and five others in the group helped -ppl who believe they’re the only one who could provide help more likely to help even if they think others are aware of the need for assistance (e.g. others are too far away) -arbitrailry giving person responsibility increase likelihood of the person helping • Study: most of those on beach who were asked to watch over a person’s radio tried to prevent staged theft, but very little bystanders who were not given responsibility tried to prevent theft Step 4: Decide How to Help -ppl with relvant skills help more than ppl without such skills or training (e.g. providing CPR) -Study: % of nursing students who helped after hearing man fall from ladder outside room during questionnaire was the same whether they were alone or with others; other Ss who were alone more likely to help than those who were with another individual (because nursing sutedents knew what to do, more willing to get involved) Step 5: Provide Help -actualling providing help can be difficult due to audience inhibition: hear of making bad impression in front of others, by appearing stupid or overly cautious -being familiar with both context and other ppl in the context can reduce audience inhibition -Study: two groups formed in lab, one that “got to know each other” first and worked on problem, the other didn’t have conversation; the groups that had chance to first talk more likely to help when a workman fell off a ladder outside Strategies for Getting Help -identify one person in the crowd and call out to that person directly (“hey you, I need help”) -clearly label he situation as emergency (“I’m having trouble breathing”) -give instructions on how exactly the person should help (“call 911”) Arousal/Cost-Reward Model -this model describes helping behavior as caused by the physiological arousal that ppl experience when they see someone in need of help and by calculation of the costs and rewards of providing such help -says ppl who see an emergency will experience unpleasant arousal and then weight the anticipated costs and benefits of helping to determine whether to act -Study: ppl who reported feeling shock, terror or horror when hearing about major fire in Austrailia donated more money to victims than those who didn’t experience such intense emotions -but this model says that even when ppl experience unpleasant arousal, they compute relative costs and benefits of helping Impact of Costs -Study: ppl who saw a confederate falling to the ground and bleeding from the mouth less likely to help than ppl who saw confederate falling and not bleeding (HIV epidemic at that time, cost of helping was greater) -Study: seminary students in their way to give speech more likely to help an ill man if they were early for their presentation than if they were late -teaching someone about the personal costs of prosocial behavior can lead to decrease in helping: • Study: economics students (who presumably learned about financial and personal costs of helping) became less helpful after the semester (when asked about how they would respond to different helping situations) Impact of Benefits -benefits of rewards of prosocial behavior can increase helping; even “thank you” can be reward -more ppl who received “thank you” for giving person directions later helped another person who dropped small bag than those who didn’t hear thank you -children especially motivated by rewards -but receiving certain typesof rewards for prosocial behavior can lead to decrease in helping: • Study: children were either given pennies or praise for helping; when later asked why they helpe, those who received pennies said it was to get money but those we received praise said they helped due to concern about the other person -when reward is given, undermines children’s spontaneous helping (the phenomenon of overjustification); giving rewards leads children to attiribute altruistic behavior to external rather than internal factors Mood -another situational factor that influences prosocial behavior Good Mood Effect -Good Mood Effect: when ppl are in a good mood, they are more likely to help -ppl are more helpful after they’re offered a cookie, are told they’re especially intelligent, find a dime, listen to take that makes them feel good about themselves, or listen to uplifting music -tipping is better on sunny days (maybe because we’re happier with the sun shining) -Study: more ppl helped (gave change for a dollar) when in front of Cinnabon (good smelling store) than Gap (neutral smelling) -ppl who are in good moods want to maintain them; seeing someone in need could destroy the mood -also ppl who are in good mood focus more on +ve aspects of situation, and the benefitsof helping rather than the costs -ppl in good mood experience increased self-awareness, leading us to try to match our behavior to our internal calues (e.g. ppl who are looking at themselves in mirror more helpful than those who are not) Bad Moods -bad moods can increase likelihood of bad moods -Study: Ss were asked to take picture with expensive camera; some told that they broke camera; then later saw someone whose groceries were falling from shopping bag; more % of those who broke camera took advantage to help vs. those who didn’t believe they broke camera -might want to make up for whatever we did that caused the negative feeling, to restore positive self – image -people who have been told they did badly on IQ test help more, presumably to raise self esteem -also, might want to make ourselves feel better by doing something good to counteract any overall bad feeling regardless of whether or not we did any wrongdoing (this is the core of negative-state relief hypothesis) -*exception: when we have been socially excluded, we’re less likely to help • Study: Ss were believed to have been socially rejected by potential interaction partners in psych study; they donate less money to student fund, cooperate less in game with another student, less likely to volunteer for future psych studies, less helpful when researcher drops pencils Modelling -ppl increase altruistic behavior when such behaiovr is modelled for them by parents, peers, media figures -Study: motorists observed model of helping behavior (man changing flat tire for a woman) before encountering a woman with a flat tire downstream; more people stopped after seeing this model than those who did not see this model -watching someone else donate to Salvation Army kettle increases donations -but, exposure to highly altruistic models can decrease helping: ppl who see helpful models and then asked to help may agree but judge their motivation to be externally based (due to social pressure); then they see themselves as less altruistic than those who are exposed to more moderately helpful models Environmental Factors -ppl in small towns more likely than those in urban areas to help others (e.g. returning lost letter, giving irections, etc.); also more likely to provide help in more serious situations (e.g. helping injured person, lost child etc.) -Urban Overload Hypothesis: says people who live in urban areas are constantly exposed to stimulation, which in turn leads them to decrease their awareness of their environment (desire to keep to themselves more, learn to block things out) • Ppl who see someone drop boxes less likely to help when there’s lots of noise from power lawn mower than when there’s no such competing stimulus Does Pure Altruism Exist? -Study: examined motivations of volunteers who worked at AIDS service organization • Found: empathy was best predictor of helping for volunteers who were homosexual, but the best predictor was interpersonal attraction (feelings about the person they were helping) for heterosexuals o E.g. for homosexuals, the other person was ingroup and primary motivation for helping was empathy; for heterosexuals, the client is outgroup and primary motivation was interpersonal attraction Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis -says that when we feel empathy for a person, we will help that person even if we incur a cost in doing so • If you identify with the person  emotional response = empathy  motive for helping = altruistic  reduce person’s distress • If you do not identify w/ person  emotional response = personal distress  motive for helping = egoistic  reduce ur own distress -this model says that some helpful actions are genuinely motivated by desire to do good for others • Infants cry more when they hear another infant; more distress than hearing tapes of their own cries; suggests that empathy may be natural part of human nature -when person doesn’t adopt the other person’s perspective, but notices the person’s distress, the observer might still be motivated to help, but this is not altruistic, but egoistic (altruistic means wanting to ease the other person’s burden, egoistic means relieving one’s own distress) Impact of Empathic Motives -Study: Students were told about Carol who broke her legs and needed tutor: in high cost condition, told they would continue to see Carol (feel guilty), in low cost condition, told they would not see Carol • Students with generally empathic motives helped regardless of whether cost of helping was high or low • Students with egoistic motives who thought cost of not helping would be low very unlikely to help but in high cost condition very likely to help -empathic motives can be created also by imagining one’s self in another person’s place, creating helping behavior -Study: Ss asked to assign themselves and another student to research tasks; one task more preferable than another; Ss who did perspective taking t
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