33 terms

Prosocial Behavior Chp. 9


Terms in this set (...)

Prosocial behavior
Actions by individuals that help others w/ no immediate benefit to the helper.
-sometimes we risks to help one another
Why People Help: Motives for Prosocial Behavior
For empathetic reasons (having empathy)

Empathy- emotional reactions that are focused on or oriented toward other persons, and include feelings of compassion, sympathy, and concern

Reflecting these basic observations-empathy that is-Social Psychologist created the "empathy-altruism hypothesis"
Empathy actually consists of three distinct components

Emotional empathy-involves sharing the feelings and emotions of others

Empathic accuracy- cognitive component, which involves perceiving others' thoughts and feelings accurately (book states this leads to social adjustment-the extent to which we get along well w/ others)

Empathic concern- involves feelings of concern for another's well being

All three components can serve as a basis for helping others.
Empathy-Altruism: It Feels Good to Help Others
Empathy-altruism hypothesis: the suggestion that some prosocial acts are motivated solely by the desire to help someone in need.
-motivation to help can be so strong that the helper engages in unpleasant, dangerous, and even life-threatening activities

This is unselfish because it leads us to offer help for no extrinsic reason, but it is also selfish, in one sense, since the behavior of assisting others helps us, too: it can make us feel better
Is empathy declining?And if so, why?
Increasing exposure to violence in the media and even in schools may tend to reduce important aspects of empathy.
Reality television shows, which are viewed of people, tend to emphasize messages as "winners take all", or "put yourself first and to heck w/ others"
Facebook, Twiitter, and other social media reduce face-to-face contacts between people, who form friends and relationships online rather than in person. This in turn reduce empathic feelings b/c it's easier to ignore the needs and feelings of others when we meet them online rather than flesh-and-blood people.

(all these offer explanations but are not proven)
Negative-State Relief: Sometimes, Helping Reduces Unpleasant Feelings
Instead of helping because we genuinely care about the welfare of another person(empath that is), we help because such actions allow us to reduce our own negative, unpleasant emotions.

Research indicates that it doesn't matter whether the bystander's negative emotions were aroused by something unrelated to the emergency or by the emergency itself, i.e. you are in a bad mood and thusly more likely to help someone as a way of alleviating your bad mood. In this kind of situation, unhappiness leads to prosocial behavior, and empathy is not a necessary component

This leads to the "negative state relief model"
Negative-state relief model
the proposal that prosocial behavior is motivated by the bystander's desire to reduce his or her own uncomfortable negative emotions or feelings

Seeing others in need induced negative feelings in us-------We help others to reduce these negative feeligngs
Empathic Joy: Helping as an Accomplishment
We help b/c it feels good to help someone.
-helping makes us feel accomplished
-helpers enjoy the positive reactions shown by others whom they help
This leads to the "Empathic-joy hypothesis"
Empathic-joy hypothesis
the view that helpers respond to the needs of a victim because they want to accomplish something and doing so is rewarding in and of itself
ex. recalling how good it felt seeing someone smile after you gave them a gift
Why Nice People Sometimes Finish First: Competitive Altruism
Competitive Altruism
Suggesting that people help others b/c it boosts their own status and reputation in a way that brings them large benefits.

Why might helping others confer status? Because often, helping others is costly, and this suggests to other people that the individuals engaging in such behavior have desirable personal qualities; they are definitely the kind of people a group—or society— wants to have around

ex. people donating large amounts of money to universities are treated like stars when they visit which in turn boost social status.
Kin Selection Theory: Helping Ourselves by Helping People Who Share Our Genes
Another approach involving prosocial behavior from an evolutionary perspective is "kin selection theory". That is getting our genes into the next generation.
-we are more likely to help others we are closely related to
-more likely to help young relatives who have many years of life ahead of them than older ones

There is one basic problem, though, that you may already have noticed: we don't just help biological relatives; instead, often we do help people who are unrelated to us.

Why? Perhaps "Reciprocal Altruism." We help others because we hope to receive help if we were in a similar situation
Kin Selection Theory
A theory suggesting that a key goal for all organisms is getting our genes into the next generation; one way in which individuals can reach this goal is by helping others who share their genes.
Reciprocal Altruism Theory
A view suggesting that we may be willing to help people unrelated to us b/c helping is usually reciprocated.
-this is in accordance w/ "kin selection theorists view"
-this could increase our chances of survival
Defensive Helping: Helping Outgroups to Reduce Threat to One's Own Ingroup
One way of removing the threat posed by outgroups is to help them-especially in ways that make them seem dependent on such help, and therefore as incompetent or inadequate.
-this would decrease status threats from our in-group

In such cases, helping does not stem from empathy, positive reactions to the joy or happiness it induces among recipients, but, rather, from a more selfish motive: protecting the distinctiveness and status of one's own group.
"defensive helping" theorized from this
Defensive helping
help given to members of outgroups to reduce the threat they pose to the status or distinctiveness of one's own group (my group)
Helping in an Emergency: Apathy or Action?
When an emergency arises and someone is in need of help, a bystander may or may not respond in a prosocial way—responses can range from apathy (and doing nothing) to heroism.
9.2 Analyze how the murder of Kitty Genovese led to a greater understanding of when and why a person may (or may not) choose to help in an emergency.
38 people witnessed her being stabbed to death over a period of 45 minutes.NOT A SINGLE PERSON called the police.
The greater the number of witnesses to an emergency, the more likely it is that someone will help isn't always true. There is safety in numbers only some of the time, not always.
It is assumed no one helpless b/c all the witnesses assumed that someone else would do it. (diffusion of responsibility)
Diffusion of responsibility
A principle suggesting that the greater the number of witnesses to an emergency the less likely victims are to receive help. This is b/c each bystander assumes that someone else will do it.
-Bystanders to an emergency share responsibility
-The more bystanders, the less any one of them feels responsible to act
9.3 Outline Latane and Darley's (1971) five essential steps to a prosocial response in an emergency and note at what point help may be given.
When faced with an emergency, a bystander's tendency to help or not help depends in part on decisions made at five crucial steps.

1) Noticing, or Failing to Notice, that Something Unusual Is Happening
2) Correctly Interpreting an Even as an Emergency
-it is embarrassing to misinterpret a situation and to act inappropriately. This tendency for an individual surrounded by a group of strangers to hesitate and do nothing is based on what is known as "pluralistic ignorances"
3) Deciding that It Is Your Responsibility to Provide Help
-professions such as teaching, paramedic, cops, it is there responsibility to help.
-if there is only one bystander they will usually take charge b/c there is no alternative
4) Deciding that You Have the Knowledge or Skills to Act
5) Making the Final Decision to Provide Help
-potential helpers engage in "cognitive algebra" as they weight +/- consequences for helping others.
ex. if you helped Genovese attack you might get stabbed yourself

If all 5 are met then someone will help.
Pluralistic Ignorance
refers to the fact that b/c none of the bystanders respond to an emergency, no one knows for sure what is happening and each depends on the others to interpret the situation.
-this will happen less if the group consists of friends
-this is true of people who live in small towns
-drinking alcohol reduces the anxiety about the reactions of others and thus the fear of doing the wrong thing (this is counterintuitive)
Factors that increase or decrease the tendency to help.
Following the slides below will tell you.
Situational (External) Factors Influence Helping: Similarity and Responsibility
External influences
-people tend to help others they like or are similar too which leads to empathic concern
-people tend to help those who are not responsible for their problem
-exposure to prosocial models increases prosocial behavior (ex. seeing someone help encourages us to help, raised by parents who always helped, seeing someone put money in a donation jar-symbolic presence)

We are more likely to help others who are similar to ourselves than others who are dissimilar. This leads to lower tendencies to help people outside our own social groups.
Exposure to Live Prosocial Models
The presence of a helpful bystander provides a strong social model, and the result is an increase in helping behavior among the remaining bystanders

Social Model: a model providing a strong social example that is likely to be followed by others
Playing Prosocial Video Games
Playing prosocial video games might prime prosocial thoughts and schemas—cognitive frameworks related to helping others.

Repeated exposure to such games might, over time, generate attitudes favorable to prosocial actions, emotions consistent with them (e.g., positive feelings associated with helping others), and other lasting changes in the ways in which individuals think that, together, could facilitate prosocial actions.

It is the nature of the games-not the games themselves-that is crucial w/ respect to the social side of life.
Gratitude: How It Increases Further Helping
Gratitude increases prosocial behavior, primarily by enhancing helpers' feelings of self-worth and self efficacy

While some people who engage in prosocial behavior prefer to remain anonymous, most want to be thanked for their help publicly and graciously

Gratitude—thanks expressed by the recipients of help—has been found to increase subsequent helping

Saying "thank you" is an effective strategy for increasing the likelihood that they will help you again if the need arises.
Empathy: An Important Foundation for Helping
The tendency to experience empathy increases the likelihood to help
Empathy: emotional reactions that are focused on other people (feelings of compassion, sympathy, and concern)

Empathy consists of affective and cognitive responses to another person's emotional state.

The affective component is essential (emotional empathy)

Children as young as 12 months respond to the distress of others by becoming distressed as well
What influences empathy in our development?
Biological factors

Contrasting Experiences

Having a secure attachment style influences development of empathy.

Parents and teachers who demonstrate concern for the well being of others.

Women express higher levels of empathy b/c of genetic differences.
Factors that Reduce Helping:
Social Exclusion
Putting an Economic Value on Our Time and Effort
Social Exclusion
Conditions in which individuals feel that they have been excluded from some social group

Prosocial behavior involves the belief, among the helpers, that they are a part of a community. If they are excluded from this then this causes pain to that person.

They are to busy trying to deal w/ their own feelings of rejection and abandonment to have much emotion left for experiencing empathy concerning the problems of others.
Darkness-feelings of anonymity reduce the tendency to help others

If others can't see or evaluate there actions. If prosocial behavior sometimes occurs b/c it can be observed by others and win their approval, then darkness should reduce or eliminate this motive.
Putting an Economic Value on Our Time and Effort
When people think about the economic value of their time, they may be less likely to volunteer to help others.
Certain professions train their members to think this way. (Attorney)
The effects of being helped. Why perceived motives really matter.
When people react +/- when being helped.
Self-esteem can suffer and is likely to occur when the person receiving the help is lower in status than the helper.

If the person receiving the help believes the help was offered b/c of + feelings on the part of the helper or stemmed from personal motivation to help, more + reactions occur. (autonomous motivation)

When helping seems to stem from condition that more or less forced the helper to extend assistance reactions on the part of the person being helped tend to be less +. (controlled motivation)
9.8 Explain how aggression and prosocial behavior are not opposites
Sometimes prosocial behavior is used to boost someones status, incur obligations, and to gain a + reputation. (politicians)
Aggression is sometimes used to motivate.
ex. Coach makes an athlete run for a long time, this may seem like aggression but it is actually a way of conditioning the athlete.