Factors That Influence Pro-Social Behaviour

Topics: Emotion, Psychology, Social psychology Pages: 3 (777 words) Published: April 29, 2008
Essay – factors that influence pro-social behaviour

What is pro-social behaviour? It is the voluntary actions that are intended to help or benefit another individual or group of individuals. This definition refers to the consequences of a person’s actions, motivations and their behaviour; behaviours which include a broad range of activities: sharing, comforting, rescuing, and helping. But there are a many different factors that influence this behaviour, that affect one's decision to give, share, and help. A lot of social psychological research focuses on anti-social behaviour. This essay will look at the other side of the coin and focus on pro-social behaviour, specifically helping behaviour and altruism. It will look at what causes people to help or not help and the phenomenon of altruism, the act of helping other for no discernable reward.

The factors that influence pro-social behaviour include cultural differences, personality variables, gender differences, the effects of religion and rural-urban differences. These factors fall under two categories; equality, the equal treatment of people irrespective of social or cultural differences, and reciprocity, a relation of mutual dependence or action or influence. These factors have their own bearing on pro-social behaviour and each influence it differently. Cultural differences, in relation to pro-social behaviour, are expressed differently between individualistic and collectivistic societies: for instance; someone living in the U.S. is least likely to help someone in need than someone living in Australia, India or Kenya. Personality Variables are personality differences that affect pro-social behaviours by way of the helper’s feelings and different concepts of morality and values, their motivations are based upon internalized standards of justice and responsibility and greater empathy, self-control, and integrity. Subjects who help have been found to be more socially oriented and more internal than...
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