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Chapter 8

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York University
PSYC 2120
James Check

CHAPTER 8 ALTRUISM: HELPING OTHERS - Discuss why we help others o Social exchange o Role of social norms o Evolutionary psychology o Theories of altruism - Discuss factors that affect when we will help others o Bystanders o Seeing others o Time pressures o Similarity to victim - Describe how personality and gender affect helping - Discuss ways we increase helping o Reducing ambiguity inc responsibility o Guilt, concern for self-image o Socialize altruism - Altruism: a motive to inc another’s welfare w/o conscious regard for one’s self-interests o Concerned w/ helping even when no benefits given in return Why do we help? To study altruistic acts, social psychologists identify circumstances in which ppl perform such deeds. What motivates helping? Social Exchange - helping benefits giver and receiver - human interactions guided by “social economics” o we exchange social goods – love, services, info, status o use “minimax” strategy  minimize costs, maximize rewards o Social exchange theory: human interactions are transactions that aim ot max one’s rewards and min one’s costs  We don’t consciously monitor this – but it predicts behaviour  Eg. deciding to donate blood – subtle calculations (weighing costs and reward) will predit whether you donate blood or not Rewards - external or internal o external = hoping to receive something in return  we give to get  more eager to help attractive person, approval of someone we desire  in lab and society  public generosity boosts one’s status, selfish behav lead to punishment o internal = inc sense of self-worth  eg. Jane Piliavin’s research on giving blood  giving blood “makes you feel good about yourself” and “gives you self- satisfaction”  eg. kindness towards strangers  explains why ppl feel good after doing good  Study: 85 couples, 1 mo study – giving emotional support to one’s partner was pos for giver – giving support boosted the giver’s mood  Youth engaged in comm. service projects, school-based “service learning” or tutoring children develop social skills and pos social values  At less risk for committing crim offences, becoming pregnant, dropping out of school  More likely to become engaged citizens  Volunteering benefits morale, health  Bereaved spoused recover from depressed feelings faster if engaged in helping others  Same for giving money  giving donations activates brain areas linked w/ reward  Generous ppl are happier than whose spending is self-focused  Study: ppl received envelope w cash – some were instructed to spend on themselves other spend it on other ppl  Happiest ppl were those assigned to spend it on others - does social-exchange theory imply that a helpful act is never truly altruistic  if we help the screaming woman to gain social approval, relieve our distress, boost self-image, is that truly altruistic? o Skinner’s analysis of altruism  we credit ppl for their good deeds only when we can’t explain them  We attribute their behav to inner disposition only when we lack external explanation  ***When external causes are obvious, we credit the causes, not the person - weakness of social-exchange theory – degenerates into explaining-by-naming o easy to explain compassionate action by satisfaction it brings someone  after-the-fact naming of rewards o Egoism: motive (supposedly underlying all behav) to inc your own welfare. The opposite of altruism, which aims to inc someone else’s welfare  Self-interest motivates all behaviour o must define rewards and costs independently of helping behav o if social approval motivates helping, then in experiments when approval follows helping, helping inc Internal Rewards - helper’s emotional state, personal traits - we help to reduce our own distress when hearing/seeing someone else in distress - Dennis Krebs – uni men whose physiological responses and self-reports revealed the most arousal in response to another’s distress also gave the most help to the person Guilt - to study consequences of guilt  induce pppl to transgress: to lie, deliver shock break machine, cheat o after – participant offered way to relive their guilt – confessing, doing good deed to offset bad one o consistent results  ppl will do whatever can be done to expunge guilt and restore self-image - Study (McMillen/Austin): you and another student, each seeking to earn credit o Confederate enters, portraying himself as prev subject looking for lost books o He talks about how the exp involves taking a multiple choice test, most of the answers are Bs o Confederate leaves, experimenter comes in, explains exp and asks the 2 participants “has either of you been in this experiment before or heart anthing like it?”  100% of ppl lied  after take test, experimenter says “I could use your help in scoring some questionnaires”  if lied, more likely to volunteer your time and help  on avg, those who had not been induced to lie volunteered only 2 min of time  those who lied were eager to redeem self-image  on avg they volunteered 63 min - eagerness to do good after doing bad reflects need to 1. dec private guilt, 2. restore shaken self-image, 3. reclaim pos public image o more likely to redeem ourselves w/ helpful behav when other ppl know about our misdeeds - guilt leads to good o by motivating to confess, apologize, help… guilt boosts sensitivity and sustains close relationships - in adults – the inner rewards of altruism (feeling good about oneself after eg. donating blood) can offset other neg moods o when an adult is guilty, sad… a helpful deed helps neutralize bad feelings Exceptions to the feel bad-do good scenario - exceptions o neg mood doesn’t produce feelings of compassion o depression – brooding self-concern o profound grief – ppl who suffer loss of spouse/child often undergo period of intense self-preoccupation (makes it dif to be giving) - Study (Thompson, Cowan, Rosenhan): lab simulation of self-focused grief o Had uni students privately listen to taped description of person (whom they were to imagine as their best friend of the other sex) dying of cancer o Exp focused on some subjects’ attention to their own worry/grief, others focused on their attention on the friend o Results – regardless of which tape the inds heard, they were profoundly moved / sobered by experience – but not regretful of participating o Did their mood affect their helpfulness?  when immed given chance to anonymously help a grad student w/ research, 25% of those whose attention had been self-focused helped  Ind whose attention was “other-focused” – 83% helped  The two groups were equally as affected by audio tapes – but other-focused group found helping someone especially rewarding - **feel bad-do good effects occurs w/ pl whose attention is on others (for ppl whom altruism is rewarding) o if not preoccupied by depression/grief, sad ppl are sensitive/helpful Feel good-do good - happy ppl are helpful ppl – both children and adults, regardless if whether good mood comes from success, thinking happy thoughts, pos experiences - Study (Forgas): had confederate offer either a mood-boosting compliment to Target salesperson or a neutral or mood-deflating comment o a second confederate, who was “blind” to mood-induction condition, wanted to the employee’s help in finding an item o Among less-experienced staff – those receiving mood boost made greatest effort to help - Study (Dolinski, Nawrat): found that a pos mood of relief can dramaticall boost helping o Illegally park car, come back and think you see a ticket – but realize its an ad o Right after a uni student approaches and asks you to spend 15 min answering questions for thesis o Would your pos, relieved mood make you more likely to help?  62% of ppl whose fear had turned to relief agreed  double the # who did so when nothing left on dashboard or when ad was left on the car door (not a normal place for ticket) - Study (Isen, Clark, Schwartz): had confederate call ppl who recived free sample of stationary 0-20 min early o Confederate said that used last time to dial this (supposedly wrong) #, asked each person to relay phone message  Ind’s willingness to relay the phone msg rose during 5 min after getting free gift – as good mood wore off, helpfulness dropped  Figure 8-1(pg 282): graph shows % of ppl willing to relay phone msg 0-20 min after receiving free sample. Of control subjects who didn’t receive a gift, only 10% helped - how can it be that if sad ppl are sometimes extra helpful, happy ppl are also helpful? o Helping softens bad mood, sustains good mood o Pos mood is conducive to pos thoughts and pos self-esteem  predispose us to pos behav o In a good mood ppl are more likely to have pos thoughts and have pos associations w/ being helpful  Pos thinkers likely to be pos actors Social Norms - we “ought” to help someone - norms = social expectations o prescribe proper behav o two social norms that motivate altruism: the reciprocity norm and the social responsibility norm The reciprocity norm - norm of reciprocity: expectation that ppl will help, not hurt, those who have helped them o Gouldner – believed this norm to be universal moral code o To receive w/o giving in return violates reciprocity norm - reciprocity w/in social networks help define “social capital” – supportive connections, info flow, trust… that keeps community healthy o eg. neightbours keeping an eye out for others’ homes = social capital - reciprocity norm most effective when ppl respond to deeds in public o Study: more uni students willingly make a pledge to charity of someone who had prev bought them candy - when ppl can’t reciprocate, may feel threatened / demeaned by accepting aid o high self-esteem ppl reluctant to seek help (unsolicited help more effective for this grp  eg. beneficiaries of affirmative action – especially when affirmative action doesn’t affirm person’s competence/ chances for future success) The social responsibility norm - social responsibility norm – an expectation that ppl will help those dependent on them o belief that ppl should help those who need help, w/o regard to future exchanges  eg. picking up a book for someone in crutches o collectivist cultures (eg. India) support social-responsibility norm more strongly than in individualist West  eg. more likely to donate bone marrow for stranger who needs transplant - Westerners - usually apply the social-responsibility norm selectively to those whose need isn’t from their own negligence o Especially in political conservatives – norm = give ppl what they deserve  If they are victims of circumstance (eg natural disaster), give generously  If they created own probs (eg. laziness, immorality), they don’t deserve help - Responses to help are closely tied to attributions o If we attribute need for help to an uncontrollable situation, we help o If we attribute need to person’s choices – fairness doesn’t require us to help – we say it’s the person’s own fault  Rudolph – the key is whether your attributions evoke sympathy, which motivates helping - Study (Barnes, Ickes, Kidd): subject receives call from “Tony Freeman” who says he’s in your PSYC 100 class – needs help for upcoming exam, got your name from class roster o Says that he can take notes but doesn’t b/c he doesn’t feel like it o You would probs be less inclined to help him (less sympathetic) than if he said that his probs in class were beyond his control o ***social responsibility norm compels us to help those most in need / most deserving Gender and receiving help - women, (who are perceived as less competent / more dependent) receive more help than men  based on social responsibility norm = perception of someone else’s need strongly determines your willingness to help - Study (Eagly, Crowley): 35 studies that compared help received male or fem victims o Short term encounters w/ strangers in need – situations where ppl expect males to be chivalrous o Women offered help equally to males and fems o Men offered more helps when strangers were fems o Eg. women w/ disabled cars got more offers of help than men did o Eg. solo fem hitchhikers received more offers of help than solo males or couples o ** men’s chivalry toward lone women might have been motivated by mating (not just altruism)  mating motives inc men’s spending on luxuries, motivates displays of heroism  men more frequently help attractive vs unattractive women - women are offered more help, they also seek more help o 2X likely to seek medical / psychiatric help o majority of callers on radio counseling programs, clients of college counseling centres o more often welcome from friends o Nadler – gender difference in help seeking attributable to independence vs interdependence - Figure 8-2(pg 284): Private and public reciprocation of a favour o Ppl were more willing to pledge to an experimental confederate’s charity if confederate had done small favour for them earlier, especially when their reciprocation was made known to confederate Evolutionary Psychology - genes survival  genes act in ways that max chance or survival - David Campell: o genes that predispose inds to self-sacrifice in the interests of strangers’ welfare won’t survive evolutionary competition o genetic selfishness should predispose us to 2 types of selfless altruism  1. Kin protection 2. Reciprocity Kin Protection - genes dispose us to care for relatives - devotion to one’s children = self-sacrifice that inc gene survival - parents who put children’s welfare ahead of own are more likely to pass their genes on (compared to neglectful children) - Genetic egoism (at bio level) fosters parental altruism (at psychological level) o Evolution favour’s self-sacrifice for one’s children  Parents more devoted to children than children are to parents - Kin selection: evolution has selected altruism toward one’s close relatives to enhance the survival of mutually shared genes o Eg. identical wins are more mutually supportive than fraternal twins o Eg. lab experiment – identiitcal twins half likely to cooperate w/ their twin for a shared gain when playing w/ money - nature (genes) and culture programs us to care about close relatives - other ppl besides our fam members share our genes (eg. ppl w/ blue eyes) o physical similiatires o genes are shared more w/ neighbours than foreigners o are we biological based to be more helpful to those look sim to us/near us? - kin selection predisposes ethnic in-group favouritism o bad for global harmony  we’re more likely to help those who are genetically sim to us / ppl who will carry on our genes eg. our children Reciprocity - genetic self-interest predicts reciprocity o Robert Trivers – one organism helps another b/c it expects help in return - reciprocity works best in small, isolated groups (groups where ppl will see the the ppl receiving the favours) o it pays to have friends o eg. sociable female baboons  those who groom and stay in close contact w/ peers gain reproductive advantage: their infants usually live to see 1 bday o eg. small communities – where ppl care for each other (eg. Queen’s community)  more willing to do ppl favours eg. relay phone message (compared to big cities) - if ind self-interest helps our own genetic competition, then why do ppl help strangers? o 1. Darwin  group selection: when groups are in competition, groups of mutually supportive altruists outlast groups of non-altruists  Eg. social insects – bees/ants work hard for colony’s survival  Eg. humans exhibit in-group loyalty  will sacrifice to support their own group vs “other” ie. Soldiers throws himself on grenade to protect troop o 2. Donald Campbell – human societites evolved ethical/religious rules that puts brakes on biological bias toward self-interest  eg. commandment “love your neighbour”  requires us to balance self-concern w/ concern of group (which contributes to group survival) Comparing and Evaluating Theories of Altrusim - each theory (social-exchange, social norm, evolutionary views of altruism) has 2 types of prosocial behaviour  reciprocal exchange and unconditional helpfulness o evolutionary theory  oru genedic predispositions manifest themselves in psych/social ways o argument that behav occurs b/c of survival function is hard to disprove How is Altruism Explained? Theory Level of Mutual “Altruism” Intrinsic Altruism Explanation Social norms Sociological Reciprocity norm Social- responsibility norm Social exchange Psychological External reards for Distress inner helping rewards for helping Evolutionary Biological Reciprocity Kin selection Genuine Altruism - self-interest is behind most examples of helping - are heroes motivated by selfless concern for others / or is the ultimate goal always for self-benefit (eg. relief from distress or avoidance of guilt) ? - Daniel Batson – willingness to help is influenced by both self-serving and selfless considerations o Distress over somene’ suffering motivates one to relieve our upset (either by escaping distressing situation or by helping)  When we feel attached to someone we feel empathy: the vicarious experience of someone else’s feeling; putting yourself in someone else’s shoes  Eg. parents feel empathy for children – are happy when they’re happy  We feel empathy for those we identify with o Eg. ppl went to Princess Diana’s funeral, were so upset when she died - empathy natural in humans o day old infants cry more when they hear another infant cry o most 18 mo old infants will help after observing unfamiliar adult accidently drop marker and have trouble reaching it  humans hardwired for empathy  priamtes/mice display empathy  building blocks of altruism predate humanity  Experiment – most rhesus monkeys refused to operate device that gave them food it caused another money to receive electric shock - Distress and empathy motivate responses to crisis o 1983 – ppl watched TV how bushfire destroyed homes in Melbourne  Paul Amato – studed donations of money and goods  Results – those who felt angry / indifferent gave less than those who felt either distressed (shocked/sickened) or empathetic (sympathetic, worried for victims) - Batson – study the dif etween egoistic distress reduction and altruistic empathy o Conducted studies that aroused feelings of empathy  Analyzed whether aroused ppl would dec own distress by escaping situation or would go out of their way to help someone  Consistent results – when aroused, ppl usually helped o experiment – had women observe young woman suffering while receiving electric shocks (fake)  confederate (victim) told experimenter that she was extra sensitive to shocks b/c of childhood fall on electric fence  experimenter suggested that the subject (observer) trade placed and take remaining shocks for her  some subjects told that victim was “a kindred spirit on matters of values and interests”  arousing subjects’ empathy  some subjects told their part in experiment was over (they were done observing victim)  nevertheless – all student observers willingly offered to sub for victim o genuine altruism!!! - Schaller/Cialdini doubt that above exp is genuine altruism o Feeling empathy for sufferer makes one sad o Study: led ppl to bleive that their sadness was going to be relieved by dif mood-boosting experience (eg. listening to comedy tape)  Ppl who felt empathy weren’t helpful when happy  Results – if we feel empathy but know that something else will make us feel better, we aren’t likely to help - Helpful acts can be egoistic (done to gain rewards / avoid punishment) or subtly egoistic (done to relieve inner distress) - Cialdini, Schaller , Fulz  no experiment rules out possible egoistic explanations for helpfulness o To them, there isn’t a third type of helpfulness – an altruism that aims to inc another’s welfare (produce happiness for oneself only as bi- product) - Batson – sometimes ppl do focus on welfare of others, not their own o Genuine “empathy induced altruism is a part of human nature” o Raises hope that inducing empathy might improve attitudes towards stigmatized pp leg. AIDS, homeless, imprisoned, minorities Figure 8-3 (pg 290): Egoistic and Altruistic Routes to Helping - Viewing someone else’s distress can evoke mix of self-focused distress and other-focused empathy - Distress triggers egoistic motives - Can empathy trigger pure altruistic motive? Debate. WHEN WILL WE HELP? What circumstances prompt ppl to help, or not to help? How is helping influenced by # and behav of bystanders, why? - March 13, 1964 – bar manager Kitty Genovese o Attacked by rapist w/ knife outside apt at 3:00 am o Screamed for help, screamed that she had been stabbed o 38 neighbours heard o many came to windows, saw her try to escape from rapist for 35 min o after he left neighbour called police o she died o 38 witnesses to murder but remained inactive o story inspires topic of bystander inaction - concern re: bystanders’ lack of involvement o are bystanders inhumane? Number of Bystanders - Latane and Darley – o Study: staged emergencies o Presence of other bystanders greatly dec intervention o 1980 – 48 experiments compared help given by bystanders who perceived themselves to be alone or w/ others  unrestricted communication among bystanders  person likely to be helped by lone bystander as when observed by several bystanders  internet communication – ppl more likelyt o respond helpfully to request for help if they believe they are the only one who received request - Latane and Dabbs o Victims less likely to get help when many ppl around  145 collaborators “accidentally” dropped coins/pencils during 1497 elevator rides  helped 40% of time when 1 other person was on elevator  less than 20% of time when there were 6 passengers o presence of other bystanders can inhibit helping b/c as # of bystanders inc, . any given bystander is  1. less likely to notice the incident  2. less likely to interpret incidet as prob/emergency  3. Less likely to assume responsibility for taking action Noticing - Latane and Darley o Had men fill out questionnaire in room, either by themselves or w/ 2 strangers o While working being observed through one-way mirror) there was staged emergency (smoke came into room) o Solitary students noticed smoke immediately, often glanced around room (less than 5 s) o Those in groups kept eyes more on their work, took 20 s to notice smoke Interpreting - Informational influence  each person uses others’ behaviour as clues to reality - Gilovich, Savitsky, Medvec – o Misinterpretations are fed by illusion of transparency  tendency to overestimate others’ ability to “read” our internal states  Pluralistic ignorance – assumption that others ar ethinking / feeling what we are  In emergencies, each person may think “I’m very concerned” but perceive others are not looking alarmed – “so maybe its not an emergency” o Latane and Darley experiment cont: when those working alone noticed smoke, hesitated moment, got up, walked over to vent, went to report smoke  Those in grps of 3+ didn’t move  Among 24 men in 8 grps, only 1 person reported smoke w/in first 4 mins  By end of 6 mo experiment, smoke was so thick it was obscuring men’s vision, rubbing eyes/coughing  But still – in only 3/8 groups did 1 person leave to report prob o grp’s passivity affected members’ interpretations  no one said smoke caused by fire  by serving as non- responsive models, the group members influenced each other’s interpretation of the situation (some said fire was caused by leak in air conditioning… interpreted smoke to be from non- dangerous source) - Sidney Brookins - suffered concussion when beaten, died after lying near door of apt for 2 days o Situation involving someone in desperate (not like smoke experiment) – and still no one helped! - Bystander Effect: person less likely to provide help when there are other bystanders - Study (Latane, Rodin): staged exp around fem in distress o Fem researcher set men to wor on questionnaire, left through curtained door o 4 min later, she could be heard (from tape recorder) falling from chair, loud scream, screaming that her ankle is stuck, loud maoning o 70% of men alone when overheard the “accident” came into room, called out to offer help o 40% of pairs of strangers offered to help o those who did nothing interpreted situation as non-emergency (eg. “only had a mild sprain”, “I didn’t want to embarrass her”) o demonstrates bystander effect  as # of ppl known to be aware of emergency inc, any given person becomes less likely to help
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