Evolutionary and motivational factors
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Evolutionary and Motivational Factors. Why Do People Help?. Evolutionary Factors in Helping: The “Selfish Gene”. What is important is survival of the individual’s genes, not survival of the fittest individual. Kin selection is the tendency to help genetic relatives.

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Evolutionary and Motivational Factors

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Evolutionary and motivational factors

Evolutionary andMotivational Factors

Why Do People Help?


Evolutionary factors in helping the selfish gene

Evolutionary Factorsin Helping: The “Selfish Gene”

  • What is important is survival of the individual’s genes, not survival of the fittest individual.

  • Kin selection is the tendency to help genetic relatives.

    • Strongest when biological stakes areparticularly high


Evolutionary factors in helping reciprocal altruism

Evolutionary Factors inHelping: Reciprocal Altruism

  • What is the reproductive advantage of helping someone who isn’t related to you?

  • Through reciprocal altruism, helping someone else can be in your best interests.

    • Increases the likelihood that you will be helped in return.

    • What is this called? The norm of ______________.


Rewards of helping helping others to help oneself

Rewards of Helping:Helping Others to Help Oneself

  • More likely to help when the potential rewards of helping seem high relative to the potential costs.

  • Arousal: Cost-Reward Model

    • What are the costs and rewards associated with helping?


Rewards of helping helping to feel good

Rewards of Helping: Helping to Feel Good

  • More likely to help if:

    • self-esteem has been threatened by failure

    • feeling guilty about something

  • A relationship exists between helping and feeling better.

  • Helping others to feel good is often not a conscious decision, but it can be.

  • Negative state relief model: proposes that people help to counter their own feelings of sadness


Rewards of helping helping to be good

Rewards of Helping: Helping to Be Good

  • May help because we are motivated to behave in ways that are consistent with moral principles – e.g., “right thing to do”


Costs of helping or of not helping

Costs of Helping or of Not Helping

  • Helping has its costs as well as its rewards.

  • Helping can also be more sustained and deliberate.

    • Courageous resistance

  • Helping can have negative health effects if it involves constant and exhausting demands.

  • Good Samaritan laws to reduce potential costs


Altruism or egoism the great debate

Altruism or Egoism: The Great Debate

  • Is helping motivated by altruistic or egoistic concerns?

    • Altruistic: Motivated by the desire to increase another’s welfare.

    • Egoistic: Motivated by the desire to increase one’s own welfare.

  • Batson: The motivation behind some helpful actions is truly altruistic.


Bystander effect

Bystander Effect

  • Tragic stories of assault, violence, and murder

    • Why does no one help?

  • Latané & Darley: Are social psychological processes at work?

  • Bystander Effect: The presence of othersinhibits helping.

  • How is this affected by the online experience?


The five steps to helping

The Five Steps to Helping

  • Noticing

  • Interpreting

    • Overcome pluralistic ignorance

  • Taking Responsibility

    • Overcome diffusion of responsibility

  • Deciding how to help

  • Providing Help

    • Overcome audience inhibition


Getting help in a crowd

Getting Help in a Crowd

  • Make sure that you make your need for help very clear by singling out individuals in a crowd via

    • Eye contact

    • Pointing

    • Direct requests

  • This type of advice has been shown to work in cyberspace as well – How?


Time pressure

Time Pressure

  • Time pressure can conflict with one’s good intentions of helping those in need.

  • Darley & Batson’s (1973) Good Samaritan study


Culture and helping

Culture and Helping

  • Around the world, two factors correlate with helping

    • Economic well-being: the more well off, the less help provided

    • Notion of simpatico – a concern for well-being of others, which is an important element in Spanish and Latin American cultures

  • Research has also found that individualistic cultures tend to exhibit more charitable and volunteering behavior than collectivistic


Scents and sensibilities

Scents and Sensibilities


Good moods lead to helping limitations

Good Moods Lead to Helping: Limitations

  • Why feeling good might not lead to doing good:

    • Costs of helping are high.

    • Positive thoughts about other social activities that conflict with helping.


Prosocial media effects

Prosocial Media Effects

  • Politicians, educators, researchers, and parents have voiced strong concerns about the negative effects TV, movies, music lyrics videos, and video games, on the attitudes and behaviors of adolescents and young adults


Helping role models and social norms

Helping: Role Models and Social Norms

  • Role models are important in teaching children about helping.

  • How do role models inspire helping?

    • Provides an example of behavior to imitate directly.

    • Teaches that helping is valued and rewarding.

    • Increases awareness of societal standards of conduct.


Helping and social norms

Helping and Social Norms

  • Norm of reciprocity

  • Norm of equity

  • Norm of social responsibility

  • Concerns about justice or fairness


Are some more helpful than others

Are Some More Helpful Than Others?

  • Some evidence of individual differences in helping tendencies.

    • Tendency may be relatively stable over time.

    • Differences are in part genetically based.

  • Is there an altruistic personality?


Attractiveness of person in need

Attractiveness of Person in Need

  • More likely to help physically attractive people.

  • More likely to help friendly individuals.

  • Charisma of one person can determine how much help other people receive.


The fit between giver and receiver similarity

The Fit Between Giver and Receiver: Similarity

  • More likely to help those who are similar.

  • May be a form of kinship selection.

  • Effects of racial similarity are highly inconsistent.

  • Intergroup biases in helping can be reduced if they perceive selves as members of a common group.


Gender and helping

Gender and Helping

  • Classic male-helper scenario: “Knight in shining armor”

  • Classic female-helper scenario: “Social support”

  • Gender differences in willingness to seek help.

    • Men ask for help less frequently than women


Culture and who receives help

Culture and Who Receives Help

  • Compared to individualists, collectivists may be more likely to help ingroup members but less likely to help outgroup members.


The helping connection

The Helping Connection

  • A consistent theme appears repeatedly: a sense of connection. This connection has taken various forms—genetic relatedness, empathic concern, sense of responsibility for someone, perceived similarity, or shared group membership.


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