Prosocial Behaviour CH 10

Helpfulness: 0
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created 2 years ago by Nabil_Kamaldeen
-Why do people help? -Personal Determinants of Prosocial Behaviour: Why do some people help more than others? -Situational Determinants of Prosocial Behaviour: When will people help? -How can helping be increased?
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Prosocial Behaviour

  • Doing an act which can have a positive influence on another person (might be wanting something in return).
  • Altruism is doing something positive for another, even though it may harm oneself or cause them some kind of stress.

McGuire's Taxonomy of Helping

  • Causal Helping: Offering help when it is not too in the way for you.
  • Substantial Helping: Giving help because they ask for it.
  • Emotional Helping: Helping someone with emotional support.
  • Emergency Helping: Helping in a crisis situation.

Evolutionary Psychology

Suggests that altruism may have evolved through:

  • Kin Selection: Helping people that are similar to us, and is usually a genetic relative. Being close in genetics = Higher altruism. Children were more often protected than siblings. Women more likely to remarry in order to get resources for children.
  • Reciprocity: A study with bats showed that the bats would help each other out whenever there was one in the colony that would not be able to get food for the night. If they helped them, they were more likely to help the other when they did not have food.
  • Ability to learn social norms: People are genetically prone to learning social norms (including altruism). Social norms provide us with survival advantages.

Evolutionary Psychology (Infant Study)

In this study, infants would see the confederates drop a toy, and then be tested to see what their reactions would be. There were 2 conditions; The researcher wasn't able to receive the toy because they couldn't reach, and another where they did not want to give the toy to the child. The children were more likely to give it back in the unable condition compared to the unwilling condition.


Social Exchange

Goes along the same path as social exchange theory, which states that we do things in order for others to do things for us.

  • People normally help when the benefits outweigh the costs
  • This is not considered truly altruistic behaviour

Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis (Batson)

  • Usually will help people for altruistic reasons if we show empathy towards them.
  • If there was no empathy, then social exchange is involved.
  • Research showed that people with high empathy for another were more likely to help out compared to those with lower levels.

Personal Determinants

  • Based on how a person's personality is, will determine their altruism levels.
  • There is little correlation between people's altruism scores and their actual behaviours.
  • The individual factors are not the only things to look at when considering if someone will help us. We need to look at gender, situational pressures,culture and their current mood.
  • Lower SES people were more likely to give help than the higher SES people.

Personal Determinants: Gender Differences

  • Men are more likely to perform acts of heroism and bravery
  • Women are more likely to give emotional support in long-term to individuals, groups or good causes.

Personal Determinants: Cultural Differences

  • In all cultures, people are more likely to give help to someone in their "in-group". This is someone that belongs to the same cultural group as them.
  • It is also less likely to help someone from an out-group.
  • This is more pronounced in collectivistic cultures.

Personal Determinants: Religion

  • People who were religious were more likely to help out in pubic situations, and not help when they are not known.
  • Studies also show that people who attend religious services are more likely to volunteer.

Personal Determinants: Mood

People who are in a good mood are more likely to help people out compared to those that are not. This is because:

  • A good mood makes us see a brighter world
  • Helping others makes our good mood last longer
  • It increases self-awareness
  • By just thinking that someone is watching, we are more likely to help and feel better.

We are also more likely to help when we are feeling guilty because we think that the good deeds will cancel out the bad we have done.

Helping out while we are in a bad/sad mood reduces stress and despair feelings.


Situational Determinants: Environment

  • People in urban environments are less likely to help out someone than people in rural.
  • The urban-overload hypothesis states that the more people there are, the less likely it is for someone to help out another person.
  • People who are less mobile will be more likely to help the community compared to those that move around a lot.

Situational Determinants: Bystander Intervention 1

  • The greater the amount of bystanders, the less likely that one of them is going to help out in a situation.
  • For example, in the Kitty Genovese murder, no one was willing to help out when she got murdered.

Situational Determinants: Bystander Intervention 2

  • Latane and Darley stated that there are 5 steps that people need to go through in order to decide whether they are going to help out or not. If they fail one of these steps, they will not help out.
  • 1) Notice the Event
  • 2) Interpret the event as an emergency
  • 3) Assume Responsibility
  • 4) Know the appropriate form of assistance
  • 5) Decide to implement help

Increase Likelihood of Intervention

  • Teaching people about the bystander effect
  • Teaching about prosocial determinants
  • Offering courses in school can help (Ex: CPR)

These all lead to a higher chance of people helping out others in the future.


Instilling Helpfulness

In order to encourage prosocial behaviour, parents and others can:

  • Rewards acts with smiles, hugs and praise.
  • Become prosocial themselves to be a model to the children

It is important to make sure that the rewards are internal so that the children don't lose track of helping.

Prosocial music and video games can also help with prosocial behaviour.