University of Phoenix
Issue Analysis: Prosocial Behavior
Human kindness has been studieds for centuries and spawned debates over the reasons behind exhibiting kindness and the lack of it. Prosocial behaviors are those behaviors that involve helping another person; ulterior motives may or may not play a part. Altruism is a prosocial behavior in which helping behavior occurs with no indication of personal benefit. According to Fiske (2010), “altruism describes a motive that makes people help because of genuine concern for others, to increase the welfare of others,” (p. 347). A person acts altruistically when he or she feels empathy for another person and assumes responsibility for helping.
Alternate Views of Altruism
Nier’s (2009) article “Does True Altruism Exist?” hosts the debate over whether altruism is inspired by feelings of empathy or if altruistic acts are undermined by self-centered motives. Social psychologists C. Daniel Batson, Bruce D. Duncan, Paula Ackerman, Teresa Buckley, and Kimberly Birch presented their findings on altruism in the article “Is Empathic Emotion a Source of Altruistic Motivation?” (1981). Batson, et.al.’s, position supports the empathy-altruism hypothesis in which empathy leads to altruistic behavior. Nier (2009) defines empathy in his article as “the ability to experience someone else’s feelings by imaging what it would feel like to be in the same situation as another person,” (p. 377). Batson stresses the importance of empathy’s role in altruistic behavior. Social psychologists Robert B. Cialdini, Mark Schaller, Donald Houlihan, Kevin Arps, Jim Fultz, and Arthur L. Beaman refute Batson’s findings in their article titled, “Empathy-Based Helping: Is It Selflessly or Selfishly Motivated?” (1987). Cialdini, et. al., take the opposing view and support the negative state relief theory in which people help others to make themselves feel better. Both positions... [continues]
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