Topics: Bystander effect, Kitty Genovese, Psychology Pages: 3 (1125 words) Published: March 4, 2013
The way humans behave is not just inbuilt, but is influenced by a number of different factors. In the field of psychology, behaviour can be classified as pro-social or anti-social. Pro-social behaviour is behaviour that is considered to be constructive or beneficial to another person, group or society (Carter & Grivas, 2005). Altruism is a particular type of pro-social behaviour that is defined as behaviour in which one person helps another person, group or society for completely selfless reasons, without seeking any personal gains or rewards (Carter & Grivas, 2005). It is thought by some psychologists that humans instinctively show altruistic behaviour, however, there are certain factors that can affect the likelihood of a person showing such behaviour. The evolutionary theory is one example of an influencing factor. The evolutionary theory applies predominantly when the helping involves blood relatives; it explains that we are more likely to help someone who shares the same gene pool as us because it is an investment in our genetic survival (Carter & Grivas, 2005). Another factor that determines our likelihood to help another person is the cost-benefit analysis. The cost-benefit analysis takes place when the situation is thought out carefully, and the costs are weighed up with the benefits. If the benefits outweigh the costs then it is more likely that one would offer their help (Carter & Grivas, 2005). These contributing factors also include situational factors, which are the main factors that influence us. They are whether we notice the incident, whether we interpret the situation as one in which help is needed and whether we are prepared to take responsibility for helping a situation (Carter & Grivas, 2005). The act of helping is also affected by our religious beliefs, as most religions believe altruistic behaviour to be of importance. Finally, personal factors also effect whether altruism occurs. It has been found that people who are...
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