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).
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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