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PSY 220 (10)
Mc Cabe (10)
Chapter 9

PSY 220 Chapter 9: Chapter 9

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PSY 220
Mc Cabe

Chapter 9: Prosocial Behavior Thursday, October 22, 2015 2:15 PM • Prosocial Behavior o Actions by individuals that help others with no immediate benefit to the helper o We used to say that prosocial behavior is any positive social action • Mowing your lawn • Voting • Grooming yourself • Theoretical Explanations for Prosocial Behavior o Empathy-altruism hypothesis • Empathy is the capacity to experience others' emotional states vicariously ▪ You're upset because they're upset ▪ Can be divided into three parts • Emotional empathy: sharing feelings • Empathetic accuracy: correctly perceiving others' thoughts • This component alone leads to good social relations • Empathetic concern: concern for well-being of others • Why is empathy declining among U.S.college students? ▪ Increasing exposure to violence in the mass media causes a decrease in empathy because of desensitization ▪ Schools start giving unearned self esteem, causing a very high opinion of themselves without having anything to back it up, causing a decrease in self esteem ▪ Reality TV creates the idea of "Do anything to win" ▪ Social media reduces face to face interactions, which prevents people from learning to actually care about each others' feelings • Thus, we want to bring people's negative feelings to an end • Altruism is doing something for someone else with NO thought of reward • This theory states that prosocial behavior is motivated solely by desire to help someone who is in need o Negative state relief model • Some prosocial behavior is motivated by a desire to reduce your own negative emotional state. • Negative reinforcement ▪ Removes the bad feeling that we already have • Unhappiness about anything can motivate prosocial behavior • Selfish desire to make ourselves feel better o Empathetic joy hypothesis • We help because it feel good when we do • Positive reinforcement ▪ Adds a good feeling • *Study* ▪ Female student might drop out of college because she felt isolated ▪ Participants were only helpful if they knew they would receive feedback on the impact they had on the girl • People are more inclined to help if they know for sure they will be helpful • Motivated by the positive feeling one gets o Competitive altruism • Allows us to gain status by helping ▪ Making a big donation to a university o Genetic determinism model • Kin selection theory ▪ A key goal of all organisms (including us) is getting our genes into the next generation • One way of doing this is by helping others who share our genes • You do not need to have a child to pass on most of your genes ▪ You can help preserve the lives of your family members and that will help pass on your genes • Sociobiological explanation • External and Internal Factors o Situational factors • Attraction ▪ The more attractive someone is, the more likely they are to get help • Similarity ▪ People are more willing to help people who are similar to them ▪ People were less likely to help homosexuals than heterosexuals (because more people are heterosexual) ▪ Latane and Darley, 1968 • Participants were taking a test in a room, and smoke started to fill the room. • When participants were in the room with friends, the bystander effect was reduced • When participants were in the room with friends, they were much less likely to help • Attribution of responsibility ▪ If people are in trouble and it is their own fault, people are less likely to help • Prosocial role models ▪ Bryan and Test (1967) • Attractive female motorcyclist is broken down on the side of the road • In one condition, the motorcyclist is broken down by herself • In the second condition, there is another car a few minutes down
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