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The Social Approach  Altruism has been defined as behaviour intended to help others having NO benefit to ourselves.

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Presentation on theme: "The Social Approach  Altruism has been defined as behaviour intended to help others having NO benefit to ourselves."— Presentation transcript:


2 The Social Approach

3  Altruism has been defined as behaviour intended to help others having NO benefit to ourselves

4  Freud & the ID?  the ID operates on the pleasure principle!  Can helping behaviour be motivated by our desire for pleasure?

5  The behaviourists & reinforcement?  All behaviour is reinforced (shaped) by pleasure?  Can we feel pleasure when we help others?

6  The Social Learning approach  We learn to be unselfish and to help others by watching others helping  (and by being rewarded when we copy)

7  The questions  Why do we sometimes help others?  When may we not help others?  What triggered psychological research?

8  Latane & Darley (1964)  38 witnesses & no-one helped!  WHY the unresponsive bystander?  Diffusion of responsibility?

9  We must notice the event  We must interpret the event as an emergency  We must assume personal responsibility  We must choose a way to help  We must implement the decision  A negative response at any of these 5 stages means that the bystander will fail to intervene

10  If we do not NOTICE we will not help

11  In the sad case of Jamie Bulger many witnesses failed to intervene  They did not interpret the event as an emergency  Would you intervene in a lovers quarrel?  Not according to Shotland & Straw (1976)

12  If others are present you may assume THEY will help  This may lead to  Diffusion of Responsibility  Which may be why no one helped Kitty Genovese

13  This involves making a decision and perhaps weighing up…..  Costs vs Benefits of helping

14  Am I competent to help?  Is there anyone else around who may be more competent?  Might I do more harm than good?

15  It explains …….  Why people DO NOT HELP  NOT WHEN & WHY THEY DO

16  When do we help others  When are we less likely to help others?  (helping situations)

17  Piliavin Rodin & Pilavin (1968)  (A Field Experiment)  Good Samaritanism on the New York Subway  tested ….

18  That when confronted with an ‘emergency’  We balance  The possible costs against the possible benefits

19  The effort (may be physically demanding)  The time required (we may be late for work)  The loss of resources (damage to clothes)  The risk of harm (we may get injured)  Negative emotional response (we may feel sick)

20  We may feel ashamed (I should have helped)  Something bad will ‘be our fault’ (The victim may die)

21  Social approval (thanks from victim)  Self- esteem (feeling good about oneself)  Positive emotional response (feelings of elation and gladness)

22  If the rewards for helping outweigh the costs of not helping ….. we are likely to act in a pro- social manner (help)

23  Piliavin Rodin & Piliavin  A Field Experiment  Good Samaritanism on the New York Subway

24  The method (Field Experiment)  The location  The New York Subway (underground train)

25  When and where?  (103 ‘experimental trials’ took place)  Between 11.00am and 3.00pm over a period of two months in 1968  On trains between 59th & 125th street  No stops, journey time 8 minutes

26  The participants ?  Estimated as 4450 travellers on the trains  45% black and 55% white  Average number in a carriage was 43  Average no in ‘the critical area’ was 8.5

27  What was done by whom ?  Teams of 4 student experimenters (two male / two female)  Male actors (victim and model)  Females were observers

28  What did they do?  70 seconds after train left station the  VICTIM pretended to collapse….  Waited for ‘help’ ….  If no-one ‘helped’ the ‘model’ helped the VICTIM off at the next stop

29 Experiment Carriage layout

30  This was an experiment  What were the IVs (independent variables)

31 The experimental conditions  IVVictims were either black or white and aged  IV Victims carried bottle & smelled of alcohol (drunk condition)  or Carried a cane (lame condition)  The models were all white aged

32  The observers recorded the race, age, sex, and location of ‘helper’ passengers  Who helped in which condition?  Also – who said what and who moved away

33  On 62 of 65 trials the ‘cane’ victim was helped immediately  On 19 out of 38 trials the ‘drunk’ victim was helped immediately  of 81 trials once ONE person helped others did so too

34  What sort of people helped….?  Males more than females  More same ‘race’ helpers in drunk condition

35  How many people LEFT the critical area  21 of 103 trials 34 people moved away …  more in the drunk condition  There was no diffusion of responsibility  Note: people could not ‘get away’

36  Conclusion (1)  The diffusion of responsibility hypothesis not supported  The more people there were the more they helped

37  Conclusion (2)  The emergency created a ‘state of emotional arousal’  arousal heightened by  empathy with victim  being close to situation  length of time of emergency

38  This arousal state will be interpreted as  fear, sympathy or disgust  Can be reduced by  moving away  helping  deciding the victim is undeserving of help

39  Piliavin et al give a TWO factor model of helping behaviour  Factor 1: The level of emotional arousal (empathy)  Factor 2: The result of a cost: benefit analysis  Thus low empathy + high cost may predict NO helping

40  Characteristics and situation of the victim may contribute to the our decision as to whether we help

41  Was it ethical?  Did it have ecological validity

42  Read.. the study

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