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Prosocial behavior

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Characteristics of Helper and the helped ,Models to explain Prosocial Behavior ,Increasing Prosocial Behavior in the Society


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Prosocial behavior

  1. 1. It is a helpful action that benefits other people without necessarily providing any direct benefits to the person performing the act, and may even involve a risk for the person who helps
  2. 2. Motives for prosocial behavior: Unselfish motives 1. It was the right thing to do 2. “That was the way my parents rised me” 3. “The Lord put me there for a reason” Selfish motives 1. Hope for a reward 2. Prospect of being rewarded by spending all eternity in heaven
  3. 3. EMPATHY-ALTRUISTIC HYPOTHESIS (BATSON,1991) There are two main emotional reactions that occur when we observe someone in distress - personal distress & empathic concern. Empathetic Concern- focus upon the other persons needs and motivated to reduce it. Personal Distress- Concern with ones own discomfort If empathic concern is low, reduce distress either by helping or escaping If empathic concern is high, only one option - must help.
  4. 4. In this, empathy motivates people to reduce other people’s distress, as by helping or comforting Empathy motivates people to reduce other’s distress
  5. 5. NEGATIVE-STATE RELIEF (Cialdini et al., 1981) In this, people help others in order to relieve their own distress. We genuinely care about the welfare of another person,we help because such actions allow us to reduce our own negative , unpleasent emotions. In other words,We do good thing to stop feeling bad. In this,unhappiness leads to prosocial behavior, and empathy is not a necessary component.
  6. 6. EMPATHETIC JOY (Smith et al.,1989) The Empathy Joy hypothesis states that the reason for someone helping another in need are positive feelings associated with the altruistic behavior. Helping others is a reward in itself because it brings a person happiness and joy when they commit a helping behavior. When confronted with a situation in which aid is needed a person is more likely to help if the victim is similar to themselves. The empathy joy hypothesis attempts to explain another reason why someone will help another person in need A helping response is more likely to occur when the helper will receive positive feedback and reap the rewards of their help.
  7. 7. Genetic Determinism Model (Pinker,1998) Genetic Determinism: Helping as an Adaptive Response Genetic Determinism Model —behavior is driven by genetic attributes that evolved because they enhanced the probability of transmitting one’s genes to future generations Reciprocal Altruism—cooperative behavior among unrelated individuals that benefits both individuals because when A helps B, B is motivated to reciprocate at some point by helping A, which also benefits the larger group to which both A and B belong Evolutionary Factors in helping: The “Selfish Gene”: Kinship selection is the tendency to help genetic relatives –Strongest when biological stakes are particularly high
  8. 8. SOCIAL EXCHANGE THEORY:THE COSTS AND REWARDS OF HELPING This theory says that human interactions are transactions that aim to maximize one’s rewards and minimize one’s cost. Persumes that people help only when the rewards outweigh the cost.
  9. 9.  SOCIAL NORMS: A social norm is the accepted behavior that an individual is expected to conform to in a particular group, community, or culture. These norms often serve a useful purpose and create the foundation of correct behaviors. Three norms are especially relevant to helping behaviour : social responsibility , reciprocity , and social justice.
  10. 10. 1. A norm of social responsibility  States that we should help when others are in need and dependent on us.  Eg:parents are expected to take care of children,teachers are supposed to help students,coaches to look after team members,co- workers to assist eachother…  All societies have norms of responsibility,the specifics of whom we are expected to help and when vary from culture to culture.
  11. 11. Joan Miller(1994) has systematically compared the beliefs about the social responsibility of Hindus in India and of the people of U.S.Hindu culture emphazises the interconnectedness of people and the obligations of the individual to the social group.In contrast,U.S culture values individualism and self-reliance.As a result,Miller believes that people in the U.S tend to view the decision to help others as a matter of personal choice,whereas Hindus view the same decision to help in terms of duty and moral obligation. HINDUS HINDUS HINDUS U.S U.S U.S PARENT FRIEND STRANGER PARENT FRIEND STRANGER EXTREME NEED 99 99 100 100 98 96 MODERATE NEED 98 100 99 95 78 55 MINOR NEED 96 97 88 61 59 41 Percentage of subjects saying the person has the obligation to help
  12. 12. 2. A norm of reciprocity: According to this principle, people are likely to help strangers if it is understood that the recipient is expected to return the favor at some time in future.
  13. 13. Study by Regan(1971)- Laboratory experiment to test reciprocity Aim:To test whether participants who had received a favor from another would be more likely to help this person than if they had not received a favor. Procedure:One participant and a confederate of the experimenter were asked to rate paintings. In the experimental condition the confederate left the experiment and returned after a few minutes with two bottles of coca cola. He had bought one for himself and one for the participant. In the control condition, the participant did not receive a coke.
  14. 14. When all the paintings had been rated the experimenter left the room again. The confederate told the naive participant that he was selling raffle tickets for a new car and that the one who sold the most tickets could win $50. He then asked the participant if he would buy some tickets and said that even a small amount would help Results:The participants in the experimental condition bought twice as many raffle tickets than participants in the control condition who had not received a favor first. Evaluation:This was a laboratory experiment with a high degree of control. It was possible to establish cause-effect relationships between “receiving a favor” and “returning a favor”. This supports the principle of reciprocity. There may be issues of artificiality in the experiment as well as sample bias. This limits the possibility of generalization. The findings have been supported by observations in real life.
  15. 15. 3.Norms of social justice: This norm states that people should be helped by others only if they deserve to be helped. In a study,one member of a team was given more money than his partner.This overbenefited person tended to give some of the money to the partner in order to make their rewards more equitable(Schmitt & Marwell,1972). In addition , the overrewarded partner often chose to play a different game when assured that this would result in a more equal division of the rewards.In other words,not only did he give away some of his own money to produce an equitable division,but he also changed the situation to avoid producing more inequity in the future.
  16. 16. These three norms are common in human societies. They provide cultural basis for prosocial behaviour. Research showing that people are more likely to help relatives and friends than other people can be explained in terms of social norms:We feel greater responsibility for those we are close to and we assume that they will help us if a need crises(Dovidio,Piliavin,Gaertner,Schroeder,& Clark,1991)
  17. 17. Research has documented the importance of several situational factors, Including the presence of other people, the nature of physical environment and the pressures of limited time. i. Presence of others:The bystander effectoccurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation. Social psychologists Bibb Latané and John Darley popularized the concept following the infamous 1964 Kitty Genovese murder in New York City. Genovese was stabbed to death outside her apartment while bystanders who observed the crime did not step in to assist or call the police. Latané and Darley attributed the bystander effect to the perceived diffusion of responsibility (onlookers are more likely to intervene if there are few or no other witnesses) and social influence (individuals in a group monitor the behavior of those around them to determine how to act). In Genovese's case, each onlooker concluded from their neighbours' inaction that their own personal help was not needed.
  18. 18. A decision making analysis of prosocial behaviour suggests several explanations. 1. Diffusion of responsibility: refers to the decreased responsibility of action each member of a group feels when he or she is part of a group. For example, in emergency situations, individuals feel less responsibility to respond or call for help if they know that there are others also watching the situation - if they know they are a part of the group of witnesses. In other group settings (in which a group is appointed to complete a task or reach a certain goal), the diffusion of responsibility manifests itself as the decreased responsibility each member feels to contribute and work hard towards accomplishing the task or goal. The diffusion of responsibility is present in almost all groups, but to varying degrees, and can be mitigated by reducing group size, defining clear expectations, and increasing accountability.
  19. 19. 2. A second explanation for the bystander effect: concerns ambiguity in the interpretation of the situation.Potential helpers are sometimes uncertain whether a particular situation is actually an emergency.The behaviour of other bystanders can influence how we define a situation and react to it.If others ignore a situatuion, or act as if nothing is happening,we too may assume that no emergency exists.The impact of bystanders on interpreting a situation was demonstrated by Latane and Darley(1970). In this experiment,college men sat filling out a questionnaire.After a few minutes,smoke began to enter the room through an air vent.Soon the smoke was too thick that it was difficult to see and to bfreathe normally.When the subjects were alone,they usually walked around the room to investigate the smoke and 75% reported the smoke to the researcher within 4minutes.In a condition were the real subject was in a room with 2 confederates who deliberately ignored the smoke,only 10% reported the noxious smoke.
  20. 20. 3.Evaluation apprehension: describes the anxiety felt by an individual who is performing a task in front of others or being judged by others. The anxiousness arises from the thought of being negatively rated or not receiving positive feedback. For example, evaluation apprehension occurs in research participants who are being rated or observed by researchers. This can cause issues in research because the evaluation apprehension can cause the participants to not respond in a manner that they normally would.
  21. 21. ii) Environmental conditions:The physical setting also influences helpfullness.Much research has documented the impact on helping of environmental conditions such as weather , noise level , and city size. 1.The effects of weather were investigated in two field studies by Cunningham(1979). In one study,pedestians were approached outdoors and were asked to help the researcher by completing a questionnaire.People were significantly more likely to help when the day was sunny and when the temperature was comfort.In 2nd study conducted in a climate-controlled restaurant,Cunningham found the costomers left more generous tips when the sun was shining.Other researchers found that people are more likely to help in sunny rather than rainy weather(Ahmed,1979) and during the day rather than at night(Skolnick,1977).In short,weather makes a difference.
  22. 22. 2.Noise:Several studies foundout that noisy conditions reduce the likelihood of helping a stranger in distress. In one lab study,for eg,it was found that noise decreased the likelihood that students would help a person who had dropped some papers on the floor(Mathews & Canon,1975).When only regular room noise was present,72% of students helped,compared to only 37% when very loud noise was present. 3.People in rural areas are helpful:Research shows that the size of the hometown in which a person grew up is not related to helping,what matters is the current environmental setting in which the need for help occurs.
  23. 23. iii) Time pressures: Good Samaritan Study (Darley & Batson ,1973) Seminary students walking across campus to give talk on the Good Samaritan (or career) Late for talk or plenty of time Passed man in doorway groaning & coughing If plenty of time: > 60% offered help If running late: ~10% help situational forces have a strong influence on whether people help others Following: –Samaritan parable: 53% helped; –Career message: 29% helped; (but not a significant difference).
  24. 24. TIME PRESSURE People in a hurry, helpless–Even when thinking about helping The more time people had, the more likely they were to help
  25. 25. Personal determinants of helping Personality - most personality variables are weak predictors of helping. Competence - those high in appropriate skills more likely to help. Attributions - influence whether help is given The self & personal norms - personal norms for helping based on personal values (e.g., religious beliefs)
  26. 26. Emotion and helping  +ve feelings INCREASE helping  -ve emotions INCREASE or DECREASE helping –Focus on self vs. the victim Mood Mood - people in good moods more likely to help. Why? Desire to maintain good mood Focus on positive things Positive expectation about helping (e.g., will be rewarded)
  27. 27. When does good mood not lead to helping? Costs of helping are high(e.g., if helping will good mood) Positive thoughts about other activities that conflict with helping (e.g., on way to a party) Bad moods - likely to help. Why? Self-focussed Blame others for bad mood Think of personal values that don’t promote helping (put self first) When does bad mood lead to helping? If feeling guilty
  28. 28. Interpersonal determinants of helping Females are more likely to receive help. Beautiful victims. Attractiveness - more likely to help attractive others. Similarity – increases attractiveness & empathy. Closeness - more likely to help those we know. Deservingness - help those we judge as deserving our help. Gender
  29. 29. Gender Males More helpful in broader public sphere, toward strangers and in emergencies. Help women more than men. Females More likely to help in the family sphere, in close relationships, and in situations that require repeated contact. More likely to receive help.
  30. 30. Attraction People are more likely to help attractive individuals than unattractive individuals Study done at FSU. Attractive vs. unattractive female victim, asked for money, needed for student health.
  31. 31. Attractiveness Study Conclusions Real donations were much smaller than hypothetical – People claim to be more generous and helpful than they really are Attractiveness influenced actual helping but not hypothetical helping Severe victims get more help Pretty women get more help when need is big
  32. 32. Latane & Darley’s cognitive model
  33. 33. How can we increase helping?  distractions  pluralistic ignorance  diffusion of responsibility  concerns about competence to help  audience inhibitions  uncertainties of obstacles Educate about bystander indifference Model helpfulness Teach moral inclusion
  34. 34. Increasing helping behaviour Reduce ambiguity, increase responsibility - reduce anonymity Guilt & concern for self-image - use of compliance tactics Attributing helpful behaviour to altruistic motives - overjustification Effect Learning about altruism

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