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Helping Behavior PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Helping Behavior. Prosocial Behavior. Prosocial behavior - any behavior that helps another person, whether the underlying motive is self-serving or selfless Two Kinds of Prosocial Behavior:

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Helping Behavior

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Helping Behavior

Prosocial Behavior

  • Prosocial behavior - any behavior that helps another person, whether the underlying motive is self-serving or selfless

    Two Kinds of Prosocial Behavior:

  • Altruism - Unselfish concern for the welfare of others. People who will sacrifice their own well-being to help others in need.

  • Sometimes we help people out of guilt or in order to gain something, such as recognition, rewards, increased self-esteem, or having the favor returned

Why are people Altruistic?

  • Sociobiologists – Being altruistic may be genetic. Altruistic people helped others survive (most likely family members) so that this gene got passed on.

  • Critics argue that no Altruistic gene has been found.

So, Why Don’t People Always Help Others in Need?

  • Would you have stopped and helped this man? (Watch Video – 2 min.)


Bystander Effect

  • The tendency for any given bystander to be less likely to give aid if other bystanders are present

  • Famous case of Kitty Genovese:

    • 38 people heard her cry for help but didn’t help. She was raped and stabbed to death.

Why Don’t People Always Help Others in Need?

  • Darley & Latane studies:

    • Several scenarios designed to measure the help response

    • Participants put in separate cubicles and asked to talk via an intercom.

    • One participant was a confederate who pretends to have an epileptic seizure and cries for help.

    • Some participants thought they were the only one who could hear the epileptic.

    • Other participants thought there were 1 to 4 other participants who could hear the cries for help.

Psychology of Bystanders

By staging emergency events in field studies, researchers have found that an individual is less likely to offer assistance or call for help when other people are present than when he or she is the only witness. This is known as the bystander effect. In this field study, an individual steals bicycles, picks a wallet from a purse, and picks a wallet from a pocket, all in full view of several people. Bystanders intervene in only one event.

Watch Examples of this Experiment


Darley & Latane Study Findings:

  • Found that if you think you’re the only one that can hear or help, you are more likely to do so

    • 85% of these participants helped

  • If there are others around, you will diffuse the responsibility to others

    • Only 31% helped who thought there were 4 others who could hear the cries for help.

Diffusion of Responsibility

As the number of potential helpers increased, the number who actually helped decreased

Helping Behavior

  • ABC Primetime looks into helping behavior with some modern day Latane-like studies.

    Video (4 min)

Why Don’t People Always Help Others in Need?

  • Diffusion of responsibility

    • presence of others leads to decreased help response

    • we all think someone else will help, so we don’t

  • Our desire to behave in a socially acceptable way (normative social influence) and to appear correct (informational social influence)

  • Vague or ambiguous situations

    • Not aware the person needs our help

    • Not sure how to help

  • When the personal costs for helping outweigh the benefits

We’ll help if…

  • We’ve observed helpfulness

  • We’re not hurried

  • We think the victim needs & deserves help

  • The victim is similar to us

  • We are feeling guilty

  • We’re not preoccupied

  • We are in a good mood

  • We don’t perceive danger

  • We know the victim

  • We know how to help

  • We have problems ourselves (makes us empathetic)

  • We have a strong need for approval

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