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Describe a Situation with the Potential for Prosocial Behaviour and Provide Explanations for why People may (or may not) help at Three or more different Levels of Analysis

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Describe a Situation with the Potential for Prosocial Behaviour and Provide Explanations for why People may (or may not) help at Three or more different Levels of Analysis In this essay, it will be first looked at the effect personal characteristics have on Prosocial behaviour including the level of moral reasoning of individuals, vicarious emotional reactions, altruism, guilt, self concern, the Just World hypothesis and also the biological approach. Secondly it will be looked at how being part of a group can effect an individuals Prosocial behaviour. Intra-group factors that will be covered include the Bystander Effect, modelling and norms. Finally, factors concerning immediate and larger context will be covered. Prosocial behaviour is an act by an individual or a group that is seen as valued by society. There are many reasons for why or why not people act in a prosocial way which can be looked at from different levels of analysis. One situation for the potential of prosocial behaviour is a man getting beaten up in a reasonably public place. On a personal level of analysis one reason for why or why not someone may help this man is to do with their level of intelligence. People with higher intelligence would be better able to take another person's perspective and so more likely to help. Meta analyses have shown that IQ test scores correlate positively although weakly with prosocial behaviour (Hinde. ...read more.


J. 1991). The belief of a Just World is a personal reason why people may not act in a prosocial way. This theory is that the world is a just place and that people get what they deserve. Therefore if someone sees a man getting beaten up, they may believe that he has brought it on himself and in turn not help him. Another level of analysis of prosocial behaviour is Intra-group factors. Reasons why people may or may not help could be due to being within a group. The bystander effect is one example of this. Numerous studies have shown that people are more likely to help when they are the only one around. This is due to diffusion of responsibility. In relation to a man getting beaten up in a reasonably public place, one person may not help because they see others not helping. Even though an individual may be concerned for the person being attacked, he will keep a calm demeanour whilst evaluating the situation. If each person does this then everyone will think that everyone is calm and unaffected by what they are seeing and so less likely to help. This idea is known as pluralistic ignorance (Macaulay. J. and Berkowitz. L. 1970). Modelling is a level of intra-group analysis that can determine whether or not people may help a man being attacked. ...read more.


In conclusion, the reason for why someone may or may not help a man being attacked can be looked at on more than one different level of analysis. This essay has covered three main levels including personal, intra-group and immediate/larger context. All provide valid explanations for the determinants of prosocial behaviour and are supported by numerous studies. Personal level of analysis appears to be the main level that determines whether we perform prosocial behaviour or not and that although society and its norms do effect it, is not the main contributor. Other factors that haven't been covered in this essay that could also determine prosocial behaviour is how skilled the helper is. In a situation where a man is being attacked, someone who is not very strong or good at defending themselves may not want to help because of their lack of skill. Whereas in a different situation where help is needed, they may have the skills to help and so are more likely to help. Other factors that determine prosocial behaviour that haven't been mentioned include inter-group analysis. Help may be more likely or less likely between different groups of people. Overall, this essay has covered a wide range of reasons for why people may or may not help at three different levels of analysis. ...read more.

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