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Chapter 10

Chapter 10 Prosocial Behaviour.pdf

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Western University
Psychology 2070A/B

Chapter 10: Prosocial Behaviour April-10-14 12:01 AM Why Do People Help? PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR: Any act performed with the goal of benefiting another person ALTRUISM: The desire to help others, even if it involves a cost to the helper Evolutionary Psychology: Instincts and Genes Kin Selection KIN SELECTION: The idea that behavior that helps a genetic relative is favored by natural selection - Thus, natural selection should favor altruistic acts directed toward genetic relatives - Researchers suggest that evolution may actually have created the tendency to help those who are close to us, rather than the tendency to help those who are related to us (additional research will be required) The Reciprocity Norm NORM OF RECIPROCITY: The expectation that helping others will increase the likelihood that they will help us in the future - Because of its survival value, such a norm of reciprocity may have become genetically based - Even infants reciprocate good deeds, and they can pick up on whether someone intends to help them and reciprocate accordingly Learning Social Norms - People are genetically programmed to learn social norms, and one of these norms is altruism - In sum, evolutionary psychologists believe that people help others because of three factors that have become ingrained in our genes: kin selection, the norm of reciprocity, and the ability to learn and follow social norms Social Exchange: The Costs and Rewards of Helping - Rewards of helping:  Norm of reciprocity  Relieve the distress of the bystander  Social approval from others  Increased feelings of self-worth - Helping can be costly, and helping decreases when the costs are high, as when it would put us in physical danger, result in pain or embarrassment, or take too much time - The basic assumption of social exchange theory is that people help only when the benefits outweigh the costs → True altruism, in which people help even when doing so is costly, does not exist, according to this theory - Prosocial acts are doubly rewarding in that they help both the giver and the recipient of the aid Empathy and Altruism: The Pure Motive for Helping - Pure altruism is likely to come into play when we feel empathy for the person in need of help EMPATHY: The ability to experience events and emotions (e.g., joy, sadness) the way another person experiences them EMPATHY-ALTRUISM HYPOTHESIS: The idea that when we feel empathy for a person, we will attempt to help him or her purely for altruistic reasons, regardless of what we have to gain  STUDY:  Altruism versus self-interest  Under what conditions did people agree to help Carol with the work she missed in her Introductory Psychology class?  When empathy was high, people helped regardless of the costs and rewards (i.e., regardless of whether they would encounter her in class)  When empathy was low, people were more concerned with the rewards and costs for them — they helped only if they would encounter Carol in class and thus feel guilty about not helping - To sum up, we've identified three basic motives underlying prosocial behavior: 1) Helping is an instinctive reaction to promote the welfare of those genetically similar to us (evolutionary psychology) 2) The rewards of helping often outweigh the costs, so helping is in our self-interest (social exchange theory) 3) Under some conditions, powerful feelings of empathy for others prompt self-less giving (the empathy-altruism hypothesis) Personal Determinants of Prosocial Behavior: Why Do Some People Help More than Others? Individual Differences: The Altruistic Personality ALTRUISTIC PERSONALITY: Aspects of a person's makeup that cause him or her to help others in a wide variety of situations - People's personalities interact with the situation to determine whether or not they will engage in prosocial behaviors Gender Differences in Prosocial Behavior - In Western cultures, the male sex role includes being chivalrous and heroic; females are expected to be nurturing and caring, and to value close, long-term relationships → There is considerable evidence proving this Socioeconomic Status Differences in Prosocial Behavior - People who have a lower SES (socioeconomic status) are more concerned with the needs of others than those who have a higher SES, and
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