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Factors Which Influence Prosocial Behavior
There are great differences in when and how concern is shown for others among the many cultures of the world. Unfortunately, perhaps because of the inherent met_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _l difficulties, few psychological studies of altruism have been conformed cross-culturally. Anthropological research suggests that the emphasis put on altruism in Western societies is relatively rare in other parts of the world (Cohen, 1972) and appears to be the product of a love-oriented parent-child relationship and stable, monogamous marriages. The latter may be in the process of waning and, as the family becomes less and less effective as a socializer of children in North American society, we may be in danger of producing a generation of under-socialized children (Rushton, 1980).
Of the few studies that have been conformed, some have found subjects in the United States to be less willing to provide help; others have found the opposite. In research which compared the prosocial behavior of children in India, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, Japan, and the United States, children in the United States were the least helpful in terms of offering assistance or advice to others in distress (Whiting and Whiting, 1975). The authors of that study conformed that prosocial behavior is most evident among children who grow up in cultures where it is required of them - for example, in societies in which the typical family size is large and the child is required to share in the care and raising of other children and in managing the household.
As with any other behavior, individuals differ in the degree to which they exhibit prosocial behavior even though they have shared a common environment. Naturally, social psychologists have attempted to find personality...