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prosocial behavior

doing something that is good for other people or society

rule of law

when members of a society respect and follow its rules


obligation to return in kind what another has done for us


standards established by society to tell its members what types of behavior are typical or expected


idea that each person receives benefits in proportion to what he or she contributes


idea that everyone gets the same amount, regardless of what he or she contributes


getting less than you deserve


getting more than you deserve

survivor guilt

feeling bad for having lived through a terrible experience in which many others died


when each person does his or her part, and together they work toward a common goal

prisoner's dilemma

a game that forces people to choose between cooperation and competition

non-zero-sum game

an interaction in which both participants can win or lose

zero-sum game

a situation in which one person's gain is another's loss


ceasing to feel angry toward or seek retribution against someone who has wronged you


following orders from an authority figure


going along with the crowd

kin selection

the evolutionary tendency to help people who have our genes

egoistic helping

when a helper seeks to increase her own welfare by helping another

altruistic helping

when a helper seeks to increase another's welfare and expects nothing in return


reacting to another person's emotional state by experiencing the same emotional state

empathy-altruism hypothesis

the idea that empathy motivates people to reduce other people's distress, as by helping or comforting

empathy-specific reward hypothesis

the idea that empathy triggers the need for social reward that can be gained by helping

empathy-specific punishment hypothesis

the idea that empathy triggers the fear of social punishment that can be avoided by helping

negative state relief hypothesis

the idea that people help others in order to relieve their own distress

belief in a just world

the assumption that life is essentially fair, that people generally get what they deserve and deserve what they get

bystander effect

the finding that people are less likely to offer help when they are in a group than when they are alone

5 steps to helping

notice something is happening; interpret event as emergency; take responsibility for providing help; decide how to help; help

pluralistic ignorance

looking to others for cues about how to behave, while they are looking to you; collective misinterpretation

diffusion of responsibility

the reduction in feeling responsible that occurs when others are present

audience inhibition

failure to help in front of others for fear of feeling like a fool if one's offer of help is rejected


a planned, long-term, nonimpulsive decision to help others

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