Prosocial behavior is any act initiated and performed with the goal of benefiting another person, regardless of any motive. Prosocial behavior consists of actions which "benefit other people or society as a whole, such as helping, sharing, donating, co-operating, and volunteering." For example, when someone's car is broken beside the road, you offer help to that individual, giving a large tip to a waiter etc. The purest forms of Prosocial behavior are motivated by altruism.
Altruism is helping another person even when there is not an observable benefit or reward in doing that behaviour. It is the desire to help another person even if it involves a cost or danger to the helper. For example, when someone donates a sum of money anonymously, jumping on a railroad track to help a stranger who has fallen. Altruism is helping purly out of the desire to benefit someone else,with no benefit to oneself.
While all altruisms acts are prosocial, not all prosocial behaviors are altruistic. For example, we might help others for a variety of reasons such as guilt, obligation, duty or even for rewards.
Empathy - the ability to react to another's feelings with an emotional response that is similar to the other's feelings; emotionally take another's perspective.
Theories of Prosocial Behavior
• Kin Selection Theory (W.D. Hamilton, 1963) – explains altruism from an evolutionary perspective; it is the tendency to perform behaviors that may favor the chance of survival of people with similar genetic base; there is research support – individuals are more willing to provide help to people with higher relatedness in regards to gender and culture.
• Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis (Daniel Batson, 1991) – helping or not depends primarily on whether you first feel empathy for the person and secondarily on the cost and rewards (social exchange concerns) of helping.
• Social-Exchange Theory (George Homan, 1958) – we help because we want to gain goods from the person... [continues]
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