Prosocial Behavior Prosocial behavior is an act of helping another person, usually when there is no other ulterior motive than to give a helping hand. There are many ways one can demonstrate prosocial behavior and the most common would be one person lending a helping hand to a stranger. Other examples of this behavior range from charity work to blood donations and can even go as far as saving a life.
Cont’d Prosocial behavior consists of behaviors that are beneficial to others. Sharing, sharing, guiding, comforting, rescuing, and defending others are all forms of prosocial behavior. (Baston, 1988; Dovidio, Piliavin, Schroeder, & Penner, 2006; Eagly, 2009) Although women and men are similar in engaging in extensive prosocial behavior, they are different in which types of behavior they engage in. The prosocial behaviors that are more common with women are communal and relational, and that of men is behaviors that are more strength intensive and collectively oriented. (Eagly, 2009)
Prosocial Behavior in Pop Culture! Did you know Angelina Jolie donated over $6.8 million to charities last year? Talk about prosocial behavior. Hope for Haiti sets new records for money raised by disaster fund and has raised $58 million to date.
What are our motivations to helping others? Help ASSIST MAKE EASIER AID LEND A HAND FACILITATE CONTRIBUTE SUPPORT BACKING PROVIDE HOLD SERVE RELIEVE
What motivates us to help another person? Can it truly be just for the benefit of another? Some people believe motivation to helping others is categorized as either “egoistic” or “altruistic”. Some people believe helping others is not necessarily in either category, but falls into both. Others still think that the human condition to help each other is always backed by egoistic motives.
Motives for Helping EGOISTIC MOTIVES “are structured by the ultimate goal of increasing one’s own welfare” ALTRUISTIC MOTIVES “are structured by the ultimate goal of increasing another’s welfare” (Krebs, 1991)
Is this behaviour Altruistic? Do we help our relatives because we care more about their well-being? How does this relate to the survival of our gene pool? How big a role does evolution play? Studies show that we are more likely to help people we are related to and will do more for them (Manor, 2007) This is Kinship Selection “the tendency to help genetic relatives” (Brehm, 2008)
What role does the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis play? “When we pay attention to another’s suffering, we hurt in a way that frequently leads to helping” (Cialdini, 1991) If you see a person in need do you have a desire to help them purely for their benefit? If not only to benefit the other person why do you help them?
We feel pain = We help When we see another in pain, we feel their pain. The different states in how we feel pain can be categorized as such: 1. Empathy 2. Sadness 3. Reflexive Distress: “refers to a kind of self-oriented, highly aversive, arousal based affective state that results from exposure to cues of pain or suffering from a victim” 4. Normative Distress: “refers to an unpleasant feeling arising from the violation of social or personal standards of conduct” (Cialdini, 1991)
How does it benefit us to help others, whether they are strangers or relatives? If we help a genetic relative are we doing so innately for the sake of evolution and the passing on of our genes? If we see a stranger suffering do we help because it will reduce our empathic feelings of distress?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjqCojle9Bk&feature=related “When you help someone else it reduces your stress” If this video clip is indeed true, then it could be said that no matter what the motive behind helping is, at the end of the day, it will never be truly Altruistic.
FACT People are more likely to help a stranger when there is no one else around…
EXPLANATION “The more bystanders, the less likely the victim will be helped” (Brehm et al, 2008). The bystander effect means that the more people present, the less likely you are to be helped. This is usually because if there are other people around to watch, one would assume someone else is going to do it and they don’t have to. Although when explored in different ways we see this is usually only the case with the bystander effect and strangers “We suggest that it is the absence of a group-level psychological relationship amongst bystanders (which might provide prosocial norms and values, cohesion, or a sense of collective efficacy) that produces the classic bystander effect. However, we suggest that when others are constructed as group members, then group size is less likely to lead to a reduction in helping.” (Crowther, Levine, 2008) To learn more, watch this clip on YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIvGIwLcIuw&feature=related
Why We Don’t Help People – The Bystander Effect Kendra Cherry (2007) states the term bystander effect refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. The most popular example of the bystander effect refers to what happened on the night of March 13, 1964. Kitty Genovese was brutally raped and murdered. She screamed for her life for half an hour in the presence of many inactive neighbors who later told police, "I just did not want to get involved." This tragedy could have been avoided if just one individual had stepped up earlier and made a simple phone call.
Why no one steps up When several bystanders are present in an emergency situation the pressure for someone to intervene and help is shared by all members present, therefore people are less likely to take action with the hope that someone else will deal with the situation instead. However, if a person is alone and a unexpected emergency occurs the responsibility focuses in on the individual and they are more likely to take action (Bickmen, 1972).
Bickmen (1972) suggests that if people see other people ignoring a situation then they are more likely to assume that no emergency exists and they proceed as they usually would, which is called a state of pluralistic ignorance. Another reason why people do not tend to help is audience inhibition. When people know they are being watched by others they are afraid of making a mistake and becoming embarrassed, therefore we avoid a situation if we do not feel we are competent to address a certain condition (Clark, 2003). Watch this YouTube clip that shows examples of the bystander effect http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSsPfbup0ac
Who is more likely to get help? In a recent study people said that they would be more likely to help others if they were members of an “in-group” rather than an “out-group.”
When people see others who are of similar status of themselves they are more likely to consider helping rather than those who are of less status. An example of this is shown in a recent document where a homeless man had fallen and possibly broken a bone but none of the individuals walking by stopped to help until another homeless lady came to aid the man. Also, age has an influence on who receives help as well. Children 10 years and younger or 60 and older likely to receive help from bystanders than those who are between the age of 13 to 40.
Altruistic Personality A person who has an altruistic Personality is a person who displays two different qualities, empathy and moral reasoning.
Does Race Have a factor when it comes to helping people? Could you imagine the colour or your skin preventing you from receiving help if you needed it?Based on the studies of white and black people placed in staged emergencies where the length of time was measured and the overall decision on whether they chose to help or not, the following information was found (Kunstman & Plant, 2008);
White participants in this study were slower and less likely to help Black victims than white victims.
Black Participants in the exact same study helped black and white people out equally (Kunstman & Plant, 2008).
The truth is alarming! Has race ever influenced your decision to help someone out or not?
Media Pressures affecting people’s motivations to help
The media’s influence on people’s willingness to help others The media’s influence on the thoughts and desires for many has never been stronger in North America. Children between the ages of 8-18 spend 7 hours and 38 minutes a day engaged in their cell phones, tv, videogames, and I-pods (Painter, 2010). While this devotion to media and electronics has been commonly seen as a problem, it has also led to substantial increases in awareness of important social issues , such as the “Save the Air” campaign through Facebook (De Lancie, 2010) as well as the impressive coverage of the recent earthquake in Haiti.
This coverage was no doubt intended to educate the viewer on the immense damage done to the country but also to show relatable, well-spoken survivors in an effort to illustrate the similarities between the Haitian and American people; this strategy played a large role in the $150 million dollars raised in the first four days after the disaster. This was a conscious effort by charities to capitalize on the strong presence of Haiti coverage throughout media, as it was believed that “Americans may lose interest in Haiti sooner than they did for Katrina” (Borochoff, 2010). Haiti relief organizations capitalized on modern technology as they received over 8 million dollars in donations through text messages alone (Preston & Wallace, 2010). In addition to the mere convenience of donating through electronics, modern media has also determined which causes are worthy of the viewers attention. The Haiti earthquake received round the clock coverage on CNN, where reporters crews were shown traversing wreckage and speaking to survivors.
In addition, celebrity endorsements have further contributed in creating attention and support for a variety of social and political issues throughout recent history. The earthquake in Haiti was no different; hugely successful celebrities appeared regularly on television asking for donations. Jessica Simpson endorsed “Soles 4 Soules”, a cause that aimed to donate 50,000 shoes, while a variety of popular singers recorded a song together called “Wavin’ Flag”. George Clooney, Wyclef John, and Anderson Cooper organized “Hope for Haiti Now”. This television event garnered 83 million viewers in the US alone (Nielsen, 2010). There is no question that the influence of popular celebrities has, and will continue to have a great impact on the beliefs and desires of the public; this influence may even exceed that of the traditional media.
Check out some of these links Young Artists for Haiti- Wavin’ Flag http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB7L1BIDELc Hope for Haiti Now Highlights http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pFSe2ALUNU Bono & Rihanna performing at “Hope for Haiti Now”.
While the disaster in Haiti was devastating and required the degree of media coverage that it received, one must ask why other disasters and events do not receive a fraction of the attention. The recent earthquake that killed 200,000 people and destroyed much of Haiti was a 7.0 magnitude quake; in contrast, the earthquake that hit Chile within a few weeks was measured as being a 8.8 magnitude quake (Lacey, 2010). This disaster didn’t receive nearly as much media attention and virtually no celebrity endorsements despite the 1.5 million people who were displaced because of the immense damage (Lacey, 2010). “In the two days following the disaster in Chile, World Vision U.S. raised $220,000 for relief efforts, significantly less than the $3.9-million the organization had received during the same period after the earthquake in Haiti ” (Wallace, 2010). Some may justify this discrepancy with the statement that Chile, as a country, was already in much better shape than Haiti-and therefore required less assistance. The necessity for media attention and public support goes beyond helping countries overcome natural disasters; it is also crucial for countries suffering from civil war and political unrest.
In the case of the Congo, the country has received little to no mainstream attention despite having prolonged impoverished conditions along with a conflict that has left 3.8 million dead (International Rescue Committee).
It should be noted that the media (through modern technology) has helped contribute to the awareness of all of the disasters and conflicts mentioned above, in one way or another. The difference in the amount of coverage that each event has received may be related to celebrity endorsements, or the overall damage to the country, or perhaps it is dependent on a different list of criteria altogether; because of this uncertainty, it is important to be informed of all relevant social and international issues from a variety of sources, and not simply lend aid to charities based on their affiliations with popular websites and television channels.
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References- Continued Clark, D. (2003). Bystander effects on pro-social behavior. Pro-social and Anti-Social Behaviour (pp. 60). New York: Routledge.
Crowther, Simon. Levine, Mark. (2008) “The Responsive Bystander: How Social Group Membership and Group Size Can Encourage as Well as Inhibit Bystander Intervention.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(6) p.1429-1439
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Warneken, Felix, and Michael Tomasello. "The roots of human altruism." British Journal of Psychology 100.3 (2009): 455-471. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 18 Mar. 2010. Weinstein, N., & Ryan, R. (2010). When helping helps: Autonomous motivation for prosocial behavior and its influence on well-being for the helper and recipient. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(2), 222-244. doi:10.1037/a0016984.