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Psychology 2720A/B CHP 12: Helpful Social Behaviour

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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 2720A/B
Professor
Clive Seligman
Semester
Fall

Description
CHP 12: Helpful Social Behaviour HELPING BEHAVIOUR - Helping: behaviour that is intended to assist another person - Prosocial Behaviour: any action that provides benefit to others (i.e. following rules, being honest, cooperating, etc.) Types of Helping - Four categories – casual helping, emergency helping, substantial personal helping, and emotional helping o Casual and emergency helping typically involves strangers – relatively simple to perform o Substantial and emotional helping usually involves friends/family – more difficult to perform - 3 major dimensions along which helping behaviours vary o Degree to which helping is planned/formal versus spontaneous/informal o The seriousness of the problem o Distinction between “giving what you have” and “doing what you can” - Casual helping – typically unplanned, not serious; involves giving what you have or doing what you can - Emergency helping – usually unplanned, serious; involves only doing what you can - Substantial helping – planned, serious; involves both giving what you have an doing what you can - Emotional helping – planned, serious/not; involves doing what you can Altruism V. Egoism Help Others and Help Yourself. - Helping others can make you feel good, avoiding helping can make you feel guilty - Egoistic motivation: a motive for helping in order to obtain rewards or avoid punishments Helping Others for Others’ Sake. - Altruistic motivation: a motive for helping purely for the sake of providing benefit to another person - Problem? We cannot directly observe the reason for peoples helping; we must infer the underlying motivation or internal state – extremely difficult Evolution of Altruism? - Why would people ever be altruistic? - Inclusive fitness: the principle that some social behaviours have been selected during the course of evolution because they increase the survival of our genes o May explain why people sacrifice personal resources in favour of offspring and close relatives - Krebs/Denton – argued humans evolved to behave in ways that uphold systems of cooperation among members of a larger group – helping and other moral behaviours occur because these systems benefit everyone in a group – can receive and give help - Empathy: the ability to comprehend how another person is experiencing a situation o May be the motivational mechanism for altruistic behaviour o More likely to feel empathy with others who are similar to us b/c it is easier to imagine what they are feeling o Also easy with familiar others because we can more easily picture life in their shoes o We are especially empathetic with ingroup members Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis. - Empathy-altruism hypothesis: the idea that feelings of empathy for a person can lead to behaviour that is motivated solely by wanting to help that person - Can be interpreted as another version of egoistic motivation – real reason you help is to escape your own distress - Experiment with shocking Elaine – high-empathy condition was told they were very similar, low empathy condition was told she was very different o 2 manipulation made it easy/difficult for the person to continue watching – easy; if she did not trade places, she would not have to observe, difficult; did not trade places, must continue to observe o Only condition in which low helping occurred was when low-empathy has been induced and escape was easy o Both high empathy conditions more than 80% of Ps chose to help o High empathy and easy escape is what is hypothesized to reflect altruistic motivation - Challenge to this interpretation; combination of high empathy and a suffering victim produces sadness even when escape is easy – people help to make themselves feel better o Two results that point to this: o Amount of helping was directly related to the extent of the observer’s related sadness o When observers were lead to believe helping would not relieve sadness, they no longer offered to help Factors Influencing Helping Social Norms. - Helping behaviour is prescribed by social norms - Norm of social responsibility: rule/guideline that we should help those who need help, if possible - Students went out to ask strangers easy questions; high rates of compliance show people generally accept the norm that they should be helpful when it is simple to do so - When an explanation was given for asking for money – they doubled their chances of getting it – help is given to those who appear to have a need - Another norm, norm of reciprocity – we should give back in turn any favours that are done for us – help those who’ve helped us - Norms will guide helping only if they have been internalized/incorporated into a person’s vaules - Personal Norms: guidelines that have been internalized to become expectations for oneself in particular situations Modelling Helpful Behaviour. - Observing actions of a helpful model will help increase this behaviour - Experiment with helping people w/broken down car – 35 in control group stopped to help, 58 in model condition Blaming the Victim. - People are more receptive to the requests of victims who did not get themselves into trouble I the first place - If they victim caused their own problems, observers tend to blame them - Ps reported more willingness to lend notes for medical reasons than for deliberately skipping class – more sympathy and less anger - Just World Theory: a model proposing that humans need to believe that the world is a fair place where people get what they deserve o When people see someone suffer innocently – belief in a just world is threatened and they help in order to restore it o Can sometimes interfere with helping - when victims cannot easily be helped, especially when their suffering is expected to continue, is very threatening o Thoughts related to justice/injustice occur spontaneously when thinking about a victim – if helping is not an option, people protect their belief in a just world by convincing themselves the victim did something to cause the suffering or they are a “bad person” - System justification – attempts to confirm the belief that the society one lives in is fair o Can lead people to derogate victims and enhance people who are successful – might stop people from helping Good Mood. - One experiment found student who received cookies were more likely to volunteer and offer more of their time - Second experiment shoppers found an unexpected dime – 90% helped Guilt. - Sometimes we are the cause of another persons need for help – it is embarrassing and can make you feel guilty - People will not only try to help the victim, but they will also be more helpful to others whom they did not affect - Example of the experimenter dropping cards Individual Differences in Helping: Altruistic Personality. - Oliners’ - Trying to distinguish between rescuers and non-rescuers of Jews during Holocaust o Concluded rescuers different in their relationships with parents – constantly reported a warm and stable relationship with their parents (labelled secure attachment) - Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI): a measure reflecting the extent to which people feel empathy in response to others’ experiences o Four parts: o Perspective taking – measures the extent to which a person routinely takes the point of view of others o Empathic Concern – measures the tendency of a person to experience sympathy or compassion for others o Personal Distress – reflects the degree to which a person experiences distress/discomfort in response to other’s extreme distress o Fantasy – reflects a tendency to imagine oneself in hypothetical situations - Study found individual differences in altruistic personality traits predicted helping significantly when the escape from watching distressing victim was easy – empathic individuals are helpful even when they do not “have” to be - Researchers have found scores on measures of altruistic personality traits were relatively stable over time – differences measured at age 24/25 were significantly correlated with frequency those individuals shared toys Volunteerism - Volunteerism: unpaid helping behaviour that is given willingly to a worthwhile cause or organization - Omoto & Synder – proposed 5 distinct motives for why people volunteer o Values (e.g. because I enjoy it, because I believe in it) o Community concern (e.g. b/c of my concern for gay community, to help)  These two are primarily other-oriented, “humanitarian” motives o Understanding (e.g. to understand AIDS, to learn how to prevent) o Personal development (e.g. to challenge myself, to meet new people) o Esteem enhancement (e.g. to feel better, to feel needed)  Last 3 are self-oriented, “egoistic” motives - Results? - Satisfaction with experiences as a volunteer predicted tenure – Ps who has served the longest reported being very satisfied - Self-oriented, egoistic motives for being a volunteer were associated with longer tenure o Contrast – joining based on values/concern for community did not predict length of service - Penner and Finkelstein – found the only significant predictor of length of service was the other oriented motive – people who enjoy helping, help longer - It appears both humanitarian or egoistic motives can increase volunteering, as long as individuals feel that their motives are met by the experience - Having only one motive – people report less stress & more satifcation from volunteering… why? - Perhaps conflict between motives causes stress IN YOUR LIFE: Volunteers in Canada? - Volunteer rate across age groups is quite consistent, except for lower-levels among people aged 25- 34 and those over 65 o Those aged 65 or over who did volunteer contributed the highest average number of hours - Women were somewhat more likely to volunteer – though males contributed somewhat more hours - Volunteer rates went up as education increased, as household income increased – religiosity was also associated with more volunteering - Ps more likely to volunteer is their parents did and if they have been involved in various groups (i.e. youth groups, sports, etc.) Emergency Helping - Case of Thompson and Venables – kidnapped and murdered 2 y/o Bulger The Decision Tree. - Decision tree: a set of 5 steps that must be completed before an individual will intervene in an emergency situation o Notice the event o Interpret it as an emergency o Accept personal responsibility for helping o Decide on an appropriate form of assistance o Implement the action - If any of these steps do not occur, the individual will not intervene Notice the Event. - Manipulation of time pressure – Ps in high-hurry condition report not even seeing the person in need Interpreting the Event as an Emergency. - Example of smoke in an experiment room – alone 75% report, in groups only 38%, groups with confederates only 10% - Ps assumed the smoke was not dangerous or part of the experiment - Other people affect whether it was interpreted as dangerous - Very dangerous in real life fire situation Accept Personal Responsibility for Helping. - Study made Ps believe they were having discussion with 1, 2 or 5 other students (who were confederates) – was all pre-recorded – one had a fake seizure o When group size was believed to be 2 – every single student helped within 3min o Group size of 3 – 85% within 3mins o Group size 6 – 62% within 3mins - Felt less personally responsible for victim - Ross & Braband found when an emergency occurred with P and a blind person, they were just as likely to act as when alone - Another study of helping with a hurt woman – 70% helped while alone, 40% with 2 people, <10% with confederate - Bystander effect: the likelihood that an individual will intervene in an emergency goes down as number of bystanders goes up o Refers to the probability that a specific person will intervene o Caused by impact of bystanders on how events are interpreted, on feelings of responsibility, or both - Study – Ps were asked to imagine they had won a dinner for themselves and friends at their favourite restaurant – critical question: how much of their salary they expect to give after forming well- est
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