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Prosocial behavior. Why do people help?. Does Pure Altruism Exist?. Altruism (textbook definition) - The desire to help another person even if it involves a cost to the helper .

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prosocial behavior

Prosocial behavior

Why do people help?

does pure altruism exist
Does Pure Altruism Exist?
  • Altruism (textbook definition) -The desire to help another person even if it involves a cost to the helper.
  • Pure altruism (another definition) -Behavior that benefits another intentionally for no external or internal reward.
  • Empathy-altruism hypothesis - When we feel empathy for a person, we will attempt to help that person purely for altruistic reasons, regardless of what we have to gain.
  • Social exchange theory -(from chapter 10, basically says: rewards > costs) SET argues that true altruism does not exist because only help others when rewards outweighs costs
genetic relatedness and helping
Genetic Relatednessand Helping
  • Would you lend your car to your brother?
    • What about your grandfather?
    • What about a cousin?
    • What about an attractive stranger?
  • Michael Cunningham and his colleagues asked people whether they would be willing to help other people in different situations.
inclusive fitness
“Inclusive Fitness”

80

Percentage Volunteering to Help

60

40

20

0

High(parents, siblings, children)

Mod. (grand-parents)

Low (first cousins)

None (attractive strangers)

Degree of Relatedness

insights into the evolution of help
Insights into the Evolution of Help
  • Inclusive fitness - sum of individual’s reproductive success PLUS reproductive success of relatives who were helped by that individual
    • Helping a brother or sister promotes the survival of genes he or she shares with the helper
  • Reciprocal Aid - help that occurs in return for prior help
    • Other animals will help non-relatives if they live in close proximity and can better survive by sharing.
similarity and familiarity
Similarity and Familiarity
  • Similarity may be a cue to genetic relatedness (our relatives look like us).
    • Competitors in a negotiation game were more trusting if shown a photo of their opponent that had been “morphed” to look like them.
genetic similarity and need
Genetic Similarity and Need
  • The tendency to help relatives over strangers is stronger when help is related to survival.
  • Research:

There are three people asleep in different rooms of a burning house:

    • A cousin
    • A grandfather
    • An acquaintance.

You have time to rescue only one.

Which do you save?

There are three people who need you to run a small errand to the store:

    • A cousin
    • A grandfather
    • An acquaintance.

You have time to help only one.

Whose errand do you run?

slide8

3.0

For everyday help, people tended to help close relatives more than non-relatives

2.5

Tendency to Help (errand)

2.0

1.5

1.0

High(parents, siblings, children)

Mod. (grand-parents)

Low (first cousins)

None (acquaintances)

Degree of Relatedness

slide9

3.0

The difference became even more pronounced in life-or-death situations

2.5

2.0

Tendency to Help (burning house)

1.5

1.0

High(parents, siblings, children)

Mod. (grand-parents)

Low (first cousins)

None (acquaintances)

Degree of Relatedness

learning to help instilled beliefs
Learning to Help:Instilled Beliefs
  • Students who have studied economics and learned the principle of self-interest:
    • Are less likely to contribute to charities
    • Are more likely to exploit a partner in a bargaining game
    • Are more likely to negotiate for a lopsided payment
learning to help expanded sense of we
Learning to Help:Expanded sense of “we”
  • Children exposed to others of different ethnic and religious backgrounds later develop a feeling of “we-ness” with the larger human family
    • European Gentiles who helped Jews escape from Nazis were exposed to more different ethnicities growing up than were non-helpers
learning to help labeling and self labeling
Learning to Help:Labeling and self-labeling
  • Labeling a child as “kind and helpful” increases his or her later willingness to donate prizes to other children.
  • People who define themselves as highly committed to their spiritual beliefs are, compared to the less committed, twice as likely to volunteer time to help the needy.
the effects of mood good mood
The effects of mood:Good Mood
  • Research study:
    • If found coins researcher left in mall pay phone, 84% of people helped a man pick up papers
    • If did not find coins…. 4% of people helped a man pick up papers

Being in a good mood can increase helping for three reasons:

  • Good moods make us look on the bright side of life.
  • Helping others can prolong our good mood.
  • Good moods increase self-attention.
the effects of mood presence of sadness
The effects of mood:Presence of Sadness
  • Helping can be increased by events triggering temporary sadness, such as:
    • Reminiscing about unhappy experiences
    • Reading depressing statements
    • Failing at a task
    • Witnessing harm to another.