Social Psychology by David G. Myers 8th Edition
Altruism: Helping Others
Altruism: a motive to increase another’s welfare without conscious regard for one’s self-interest
Egoism: motive (supposedly underlying all behavior) to increase one’s own welfare
Why Do We Help? Theory #1 – Social Exchange Theory
Social exchange theory (goal of transactions is to maximize rewards and minimize costs)
Social rewards include friendship, money, etc.
Internal rewards include:
Reduce guilt or other negative emotions (“feel bad, do good”)
Exceptions to the feel bad-do good scenario: anger, grief
Feel good, do good: One of the strongest consistent findings in psychology is that happy people are helpful people.
Why Do We Help? Theory #2 – Social Norm Theory
Why Do We Help? Theory #3 – Evolutionary Theory
Kin protection/selection – care for children and other relatives to enhance survival of mutually shared genes (“genetic egoism”)
Reciprocity – helps ensure survival, especially in small groups
Willingness to help may be influenced by both self-serving and selfless considerations.
Empathy enables us to feel another’s emotions and motivates us to help for that person’s sake, not our own.
Leading researcher David Batson believes that genuine “empathy-induced altruism is part of human nature.”
When Will We Help?
Who Will Help?
How Can We Increase Helping?
Undoing the restraints on helping
Reduce ambiguity, increase responsibility
Guilt and concern for self-image
Teaching moral inclusion
Attributing helpful behavior to altruistic motives
Learning about altruism
Media & Altruism