• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Evaluate two theories of altruism.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

a) Evaluate two theories of altruism. Altruism is a type of pro-social behaviour which is to help someone but the helping person has no intention of gaining reward or socially or materially. For e.g. when a plane crashed into the Potomac River in Washington in 1982 the waters were freezing yet still two men helped by jumping in the freezing water and helping people out, with a risk to their lives. It is argued that these acts are altruistic (unselfish), or whether they are driven by egoistic motivation. There are many theories of altruistic behaviour, two of which are the natural selection theory and the kin selection theory. The natural selection theory was suggested by sociobiologists and says that altruism happens because of several years of evolution. This means that the best-adapted behaviours are more likely to survive and be passed on from generation to generation. It is suggested that egoism would be more likely to survive and be passed on because this behaviour is to be selfish and would allow the more egoistic people to survive and pass on their selfish genes rather than altruistic genes. ...read more.

Middle

It seems likely that altruism arises between our instincts, emotions culture and intellect and that further research will need to be conducted in attempt to understand the true motives of altruists. b) Outline and evaluate two biological explanations for apparent altruism in non human animals. Altruism within animals is defined as; an animal is considered to be engaging in altruistic behaviour when by doing so, it increases the survival chances of another while decreasing its own. One explanation of altruism within animals is the kin-selection explanation. As Darwin said evolution is dependant on the genetic make up of an animal and that all relatives have the same genes any altruistic behaviour which helps a relatives chances of survival or reproductive success is beneficial. This is known as inclusive fitness. Inclusive fitness contains two types: direct fitness and indirect fitness. Direct fitness is when the genes are passed on to survive through reproduction of an animals offspring and indirect fitness is said to be the survival of the genes through helping the reproductive chances of another/relative. ...read more.

Conclusion

An example of this would be of that Fischer (1980) he studied the black helmet fish which has both male and female characteristics. The fishes both fertilise and release each others eggs in reciprocal altruism. And if the favour isn't payed back then the fish cheated on would only swim away. Also by Wilkinson (1984) where he studied bats and found that if a vampire bat is removed from its roost and starved of blood then a bat from its own roost is more likely to share blood rather than another bat from another roost, also the starved bat would return this favour. This study backs up the kin selection theory as more likely than not a family member would be altruistic and the favour returned. But the reciprocal altruism theory does not account for when and is an altruistic favour is not returned. a) Evaluate two theories of altruism b) Outline and evaluate two biological explanations for apparent altruism in non human animals Habibur-Rahman Laher 72E ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Sexual Selection

    3 star(s)

    be the one to father the child * Animlas who live in groups where one male controls all the females have a large amount of sexual dimorphism (as the male

  2. Psychology Questions Ansewered

    Suggest why the staff behaved in these ways towards the patients. Answer one question only from this section Some people argue that the main aim of psychology should be to produce findings that have useful applications, whilst others argue that psychology should be interesting as well as useful.

  1. Mate Selection and Preferences Across Decades

    The results were publicized and not confidential, therefore, according to Berscheid and Regan, "could yield less insight into mating dynamics than studies that utilize data from...behavior observation of mate choice" (p. 356). While many studies rank physical attractiveness high on the list when selecting a mate, how do humans judge attractiveness?

  2. Deindividuation theories.

    confederate, as long as the victim could not see or identify them. Also, Zimbardo's classic Stanford prison experiment showed that people, when given complete control over others and act within a group, can act violently. This appears to confirm the tenets of deindividuation theory.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work