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Evolutionary Theory

o We engage in prosocial behaviour because it benefits our survival
o Motivated by
- Kin selection – help those we feel close to
- Reciprocity norm – if I help someone, I can expect to be helped in the future when I need help
• STUDY: 21months old have a good sense of helping and prefer people who act as helpers than those who do not
- Social norms
• We don’t like when people don’t help us when we think they should


Social Exchange theory

o Engage in prosocial behaviour to maximize benefits and minimize costs


Social Exchange theory - Benefits and Costs

- Decreases own arousal
- Social approval
- Increases sense of self-worth
- Invest in the future (reciprocity)

- Physical danger
- Embarrassment
- Time-consuming
- Reliance


Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis

o Batson (1991) claimed that empathy leads to altruism
o Empathy leads to altruism; study 9/11; sustained and immediate help
o No empathy leads you to think about costs vs. benefits; only help if benefits outweigh the costs


Curious findings - cover up altruism

o People often try to cover up their altruism with a social exchange interpretation
o Why? Socially unacceptable to brag about doing good, once you take on that label it becomes part of your self identity so you need to live up to that all the time


Altruistic personality type

o No links b/w scores on altruism scales and helping behaviour
o Personality interacts with the situation to determine helping


Gender differences

o Men: heroic, chivalrous ways that involve short-term involvement
o Women: nurturing ways that involve a long-term commitment
o But no difference in the willingness to help, just the type of help
o Lower income people are more generous than higher income people (% wise)


Cultural differences

o In all cultures people are more likely to help people of in-group than of the out-group; they’ll help the out-group only if reward sufficient
o Collectivist: more likely to help member of in-group; less likely to help members of out-group
o Individualistic: likely to help people who are members of either in-group or out-group


Mood & Helping - Good Mood

o When people are in a good mood, they tend to be helpful
- More understanding of others
- Prolong good mood
- More self-aware


Mood & Helping - Bad Mood

o Negative-state relief hypothesis
- When we feel guilty, sad, or depressed, we offer help in order to alleviate our own distress
- Curious finding: church donations higher prior to confession than afterwards
- Anger; empathy down and helping down


Population density: Helping in rural vs. urban

o Urban-overload hypothesis: people living in cities keep to themselves to avoid being overloaded by all the stimulation
o Rural setting: more likely to help because the population is really spread out


Bystander Effect

o Greater number of bystanders who observe an emergency, the greater the probability of those in need receiving help; true? Nope
o STUDY: Latane and Darley
- The more people present, the less likely you will receive help (bystander effect)
STUDY: Seizure and getting help
- If they were alone get help super fast, speed of help is slower the more people are around


5 Steps involved in procuring help

1) notice event
2) interpreting the event (pluralistic ignorance – you decide it isn’t an emergency because others aren’t treating it like an emergency)
3) assuming responsibility (diffusion of resp.)
4) knowing how to help
5) implementing the help


Relationship type

o Communal relationship: primary concern is the welfare of the other
o Exchange relationship: helping is governed by equity concerns (who is getting what)


Prosocial behaviour occurs early in life (18 months) + Encouraging prosocial behaviour

o Encourage (prime) prosocial behaviour through
- Social praise
- Modeling
- Awareness