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Outline and evaluate two or more studies relating to human altruism and/or Bystander Behaviour

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Outline and evaluate two or more studies relating to human altruism and/or Bystander Behaviour Human altruism is the idea of people performing completely selfless acts, for example helping others because they feel only empathy for them and want to assist them. However it is often argued that truly altruistic behaviour doesn't exist and there is always some egoistic motivation to help someone because you will be benefit from it in some way. Batson's Empathy Altruism Model explains altruistic behaviour as simply a consequence of empathy with someone in need. It's suggested that when coming across someone who needs your help it will lead to empathetic concern, but only if the perspective of the other person is taken so that it is understood how they feel. Batson believed that three conditions facilitate perspective taking; the first would be that the observer is attached to the victim in some way, either romantically, through family or that they are similar in a way. The second is that the observer has had a similar experience so can understand the distress the person is going through, and the final condition would be ...read more.


Many students who felt personal distress did exactly that and failed, however those claiming empathy took the test and passed, suggesting that true altruism was taking place. These studies show a difference side to human nature; that we can be selfless and altruistic, and the support studies eliminate the idea that people always help to avoid disapproval. However, all studies are contrived and can't be applied to real life situations. As well as this, participants could be performing demand characteristics as the "placebo drug" story is quite unbelievable and therefore could act how they think they're supposed to. The wider scale of altruism isn't reflected, only the short terms acts, for example continuous caring for someone can be an altruistic act and it's not shown whether the same process is involved. Batson acknowledged afterwards that empathy can be easily crushed - of those feeling empathetic concern, 86% agreed to take "mild" shocks, whereas when these were described as painful it went down to a mere 14%. It is believed by Cialdini that when we do something wrong we feel guilty about it, and this is a negative feeling so we try to reduce it. ...read more.


Once again, this research only reflects short term altruistic acts so can't be generalised. Cialidini suggested that when you feel empathy, you also feel sadness, and when manipulated separately it was found that higher levels of sadness produced more helping. Franzoi reported that adults are more likely to help in a bad mood, but in contrast to this there is plenty of evidence to suggest that people are more likely to help when they're in a good mood. Similar to Baton's research, their methods have been criticised with the use of the so called 'placebo drug', as it is hard to know whether participants believed the effects or acted how they thought they should. Overall, Batson suggested that to resolve the issue it should be concluded that people act through empathy for people that they have a strong connection with, however for others the empathy shown is only because of their feeling of personal distress. In cannot be known whether each individual is acting because of a certain feeling as each situation will be different and differences such as situation, relationship, personal emotion and reward or costs that could take place. ?? ?? ?? ?? Taya Dufall ...read more.

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