Psychology 324 Assignment- Does true Altruism exist

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Topics: Altruism
Does true altruism exist?

Altruism is a lack of selfishness and a desired, non-beneficial behaviour to help other people. It is an selfless regard for or devotion to the welfare of others. The question I will discuss in this essay is whether true altruism exists or not. I will include sufficient reference from the articles, Batson et al, and Ciadini et al, to support and back up my arguments. Both of these articles include scientific systematic studies and experiments with isolated systems to determine if true altruism does in fact exist.

In Batson’s et al article, an experiment is conducted and the question is raised if empathy leads to altruistic motivation, rather than egoistic motivation to help another in need (empathy-altruism hypothesis). Egoism is a principle that states individual self-interest is the real motivation of all conscious action and is the gratification of one’s own desires. The experiment involves participants watching a female receiving electric shocks, and then giving them a chance to receive the shocks themselves to help her. If empathy did indeed lead to altruistic behaviour, the participants would be willing to aid her, when escaping the situation (physically or psychologically) without aiding her was easy, as when it was difficult. But if empathy did indeed lead to egoistic behaviour, the participants would be more ready to help when the escape was difficult, than when it was easy. Most theories today all lie towards the egoistic side, for example, the participants that helped that girl in need felt remorseful for her, and wished to reduce her distress and suffering- but this indeed may not be the means to an end of their helping actions, but rather an intermediate means to the final end of decreasing their own distress. Therefore helping the girl was not an altruistic response, but rather an egoistic response to decrease the unpleasant emotions of guilt and shame they would experience if no helping was done.

May studies show

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