Altruistic Behavior

Topics: Altruism, Social psychology, Human behavior Pages: 5 (1699 words) Published: October 6, 2007
Psychology is the study of human behavior and human interaction between others and the environment; this paper is going to examine and understand why and how people become the victims of sympathy and caring. What is the basis of the understanding of altruistic behavior? Altruism is a selfless concern for the welfare of others; altruism has a focus on motivation to help others and want to be good to others without receiving a reward. Many humans do not act with Altruism behaviors towards others.

In the question of altruism and the patterns of every human behavior on the matter one can become to their own behaviors. When was the last self-less act you truly acted upon? Do you typically act with self-less or self-fish behaviors? If you were to analyze yourself you should be able to find the answer as to why a majority of us humans are not always concerned for the welfare of others around us. But, finding the reason why you might be self-fish does not give me the whole picture as to why a great percentage of people act with egotism and without altruism towards others.

An interesting study was done by Mary R. Laner and Mary H. Benin (2006) of Arizona State University called, Bystander Attitudes toward Victims of Violence: Who's worth helping? The study examined if there is a difference in gender behavior when it comes to people acting out towards other. Is a woman more willing to help another women or a child before she helps a man? Is a man more willing to help another woman before he helps another man? Laner and Benin conducted their study on when and if people helped other people during acts of violence. They discovered interesting results; Laner and Benin found that there was a difference between the help given according to genders.

A second study was called, Fear of Negative Evaluation Affects Helping Behavior: The Bystander Effect Revisited. It was done by Lori M. Karakashian (2001) at Albion College. She looked at the effects of shyness and fear of negative evaluation on helping. She wanted to identify if shyness, "a tendency to avoid social interactions and to fail to participate appropriately in social situations" which is a feeling that most have experienced at some point in their lives, had some affect on the likelihood of offering help to others. In Karakashian's (2001) study she found that there are no significant differences between "shy" people and others on the subject of offering help to others.

A final study done by Peter Fischer (2006) at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Germany was called, The unresponsive bystander: Are bystanders more responsive in dangerous emergencies? His study conducted examined the idea that in situations with low potential danger or high potential danger is there a significant difference between the help given by the bystanders around. His study found that in highly dangerous situations a larger percentage of people are willing to act with altruistic behaviors; for the welfare of the other person or persons in need.

The first study by Laner and Benin (2001) studied the bystander's reactions to a violent attack using an experimental or hypothetical situation involving one single victim. It compared the difference between a woman, a child, and a dog. The study used over 700 college students. They found that more people who perceive them-selves to be a stronger, more aggressive, and more sympathetic person were more likely to intervene in the situation. Their hypothesis for the study was: Children will be most likely to be helped then women or dog.

College respondents were asked through a survey how likely they would be to intervene in the following situation; a 140-150 lb man is kicking, yelling, and hitting at approximately a 6 year old child, the child is crying and seems to be in pain; you can not tell if the man is the father. No one else is around in the situation, what do you do. A series of questions were asked on how likely they would be to intervene on a scale...

References: Fisher, Peter. (2006). The unresponsive bystander: Are bystanders more responsive in dangerious emergencies? European Journal of Social Psychology, VOL 36, 267-278.
Karakashian, Lori M. (2006). Fear of Negative Evaluation Affects Helping Behavior: The Bystander Effect Revisited. North American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 8, 12-32
Laner, Mary R., Benin, Mary H. (2001). Bystander Attitudes toward victims of violence: Who 's worth helping? Deviant Behavior, Vol. 22, p23-43
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