Altruism/Bystander behaviour

The empathy-altruism hypothesis

The decision model

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  • Created by: Marie
  • Created on: 23-05-09 16:08

Explanation 1: THE EMPATHY-ALTRUISM HYPOTHESIS - BATSON (1991) - Explanations differ in terms of whether they see altruism as selfless or selfish behaviour

A01: Empathy - this involves feeling an emotional response that is consistent with another's emotional state
A02: Oneness or empathy? - CIALDINI et al. (1997) claimed 'oneness' (closeness of association) was a better indicator of helping than empathetic concern.
A02: However... BATSON et al. (1997) found that oneness did not affect helping.

A01: Perspective-taking - Witnessing someone in need only leads to empathetic concern if the observer takes the perspective of that person
A02: Learned or biological?
: Kin selection theory states that we are likely to help those with whom we share genes. This is supported by... research (e.g. KRUGER, 2003).
Limitations:
Altruistic concern for others can easily be crushed by experimental manipulations where participants' attention is turned toward themselves (BATSON et al.)


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A01: Helping Elaine: Participants in the high empathy condition still helped even when given the opportunity to leave (Batson et al., 1981)
A02: However...
it is possible that participants in Batson's study saw through the deception and acted accordingly.
This study has external validity... as Oliner and Oliner (1988) found that 37% of those who helped jews during WWII did so for altruistic reasons.

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Explanation 2: THE DECISION MODEL (LATANTE AND DARLEY, 1970) - This model explains why bystanders somtimes do and sometimes don't offer help in an emergency.

Research support includes:
- Stage 2: In an ambigious situation, people are less likely to help (CLARK and WORD, 1972)
- Stage 3: Studies of diffusion of responsibility and pluralistic ignorance (e.g. DARLEY et al., 1973)
- Stage 4: Bystanders trained in first aid are more likely to help (CRAMER et al 1988)

A01: Five stage model:
Before bystanders intervene, they must:
- notice the situation
- interpret it as an emergency
- accept personal responsibility to intervene
- consider what is the best form of intervention
- decide how to implement the intervention


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A02: Diffusion of responsibilty is supported by... LATANE and DABBS (1973), who found that this tendency was greater when bystanders were unable to see each other's facial expressions.

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