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CHAPTER 14 PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR: HELPING OTHERS

Objectives What is prosocial behavior? Why do we help? When do we help? Does true altruism really exist? Whom do we help? Are there hidden costs for helping recipients?

I. What is prosocial behaviour?


Prosocial behavior - is voluntary behaviour that is carried out to benefit another person. It involves little cost, sometimes can entail considerate time, money and even personal danger.

Activity: Have you ever wondered how your own degree of helpfulness compares with that of others prosocial tendencies? *Answer Helping-Orientation Questionnaire

Two forms of helpful behaviour based on motives 1. Egoistic helping a form of helping in which the ultimate goal of the helper is to increase his or her own welfare. 2. Altruistic helping a form of helping in which the ultimate goal of the helper is to increase anothers welfare without expecting anything in return. Gender influences helping Alice Eagly and Maureen Crowleys (1986) meta-analytic review of 172 helping behaviour studies indicates that men and women differ in their willingness to engage in certain prosocial actions. MEN Generally helps more than women WOMEN More helpful than men in other forms of helping such as helping a friend/caring for children More likely provides social and

More likely helps strangers

emotional support to others Greatest when there is audience and More willing to serve as caretakers for when the potential danger person in children and elderly. need is female Among children, girls tend to be a bit more helpful than boys (Eisenberg et al., 1996).

Two tentative conclusions 1. First, women and men appear to be helpful in different ways 2. These differences become stronger from childhood to adulthood and are most apparent when gender roles are salient. Gender Roles Male role of heroic-rescuer Female role of providing long-term help involving empathy and caretaking

II. Why do we help?


Ethologists and evolutionary psychologists have documented countless instances in which animals have put their own lives at risk to protect other members of their own species from danger (Fouts, 1997; Wilson, 1996).

Kin Selection A theory that people will exhibit preferences for helping blood relatives because this will increase the odds that their genes will be transmitted to subsequent generations

Reciprocal Helping An evolutionary principle stating that people expect that anyone helping another will have that favor returned at some future time. For reciprocal helping to evolve, the benefit to the recipient must be high and the cost to the helper must be relatively low. In addition, the likelihood of their positions being reversed in the future must also be high and there must be a way to identify cheaters those who do not reciprocate (Brown & Moore, 2000). Ex.. social grooming

Certain conditions where reciprocal helping most likely to evolve (Triver, 1983)

1. Social group living so that individuals have ample opportunity to give and receive help. 2. Mutual independence in which species survival depends on the operation. 3. The lack of rigid dominance hierarchies so that reciprocal helping will enhance each animals power.

Reciprocal helping is also common in humans, and, consistent with evolutionarybased mechanisms to prevent cheating, when people are unable to reciprocate, they tend to experience guilt and shame (Fehr & Gaechter, 2002; Wonderly, 1996).

Social Norms Define the Rules of Helping Others Prosocial norms are expectations to behave selflessly in bestowing benefits on others.

Prosocial norms 1. Norm of reciprocity is based on maintaining fairness in social relathionships. helping those who help us (Brown & Moore, 2000; Gouldner, 1960). 2. Norm of social responsibility A social norm stating that we should help when others are in need and dependent on us. This social responsibility norm requires help-givers to render assistance regardless of the recipients worthiness and without an expectation of being rewarded (Nunner-Winkler, 1984). 3. Norm of social justice a social norm stating that we should help only when we believe that others deserve our assistance. Thus, according to this norm, if good people encounter unfortunate circumstances, they deserve help and we have a duty to render assistance.

Political Difference

Cultural Difference Research conducted in both individualist and collectivist cultures indicates that the norm of reciprocity may be universal (Gergen et al., 1975). Regarding the norm of social responsibility, a number of cross-cultural studies have found that adult members of collectivists cultures are not only more likely to help others of their ingroup than are members of individualist cultures, but they also express greater enjoyment in meeting these social obligations than do individualists

(Bontempo et al., 1990). A likely reason for this difference is that collectivists are much more likely than individualists to stress ingroup cooperation and individual sacrifice. This means that in all situation, giving help should be dictated by social norms and not by the personal norms of the potential helper. This cultural difference appears to be especially apparent for Americans with a conservative political ideology rather than those with liberal ideology.

In closing, it should be noted that the individualist-collectivists cultural differences discussed here appear to apply only to ingroup helping. When those needing help are clearly members of an outgroup, research suggests that collectivists may at times be less helpful than individualists (LArmand & Pepitone, 1975; Lonner & Adamopoulos, 1997).

Learning to Be Reinforcement

Helper

involves

Both

Observation

and

Direct