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A LEVEL PSYCHOLOGY PRO & ANTI - SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR THEORIES OF ALTRUISM BATSON - EMPATHY-ALTRUISM HYPOTHESIS When we see another person in distress we can feel either empathy or personal distress. Empathy is when we are concerned about the feelings of others. Personal distress is when we are concerned about our own feelings (selfish). If we feel empathy then we are likely to behave altruistically. We are more likely to feel empathy if we identify with the victim or have personal feelings towards them. If we feel personal distress then we are less likely to help and are more likely to escape from the situation to reduce our personal distress. BATSON'S LABORATORY STUDY Procedure Participants were put a into state of empathy or personal distress. They then watched Elaine (a confederate) taking part in a study where she received mild electric shocks. They were given the chance to behave altruistically by taking the place of Elaine and receive the shocks on her behalf or allowed to leave. Findings The participants who had been made to feel empathy for Elaine were more likely to behave altruistically by taking her place .The participants feeling personal distress were more likely to leave when given the opportunity to do so. ...read more.


They were compared with another group who did not have the drug and believed that their mood could be changed by their actions. FINDINGS Participants who had mood fixed didn't behave altruistically because it wouldn't make them feel better. CRITICISMS * Lacks ecological validity/ Ethical concerns of deception (see Batson's study) * Intense negative feelings don't result in altruism. People are more likely to help if they are in a good mood. * Implies humans are selfish * Cultural bias Laboratory research conducted in America - an individualistic society. Cross-cultural research has shown that altruism is higher in collectivist cultures. (See notes on cultural differences) A LEVEL PSYCHOLOGY PRO & ANTI - SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR BYSTANDER BEHAVIOUR LATANE & DARLEY - DECISION MODEL When deciding whether to help we ask ourselves 5 questions 1. Is there a problem? 2. Is help needed? 3. Will I help? (Am I prepared to become involved?) 4. Can I help? (Have I got the ability to help?) 5. Should I help? SUPPORTING EVIDENCE 1. Question 2 - Is help needed? CLARK & WORD - Study of workman falling of ladder If we are not sure if help is needed then we are less likely to help If workman fell off ladder in full view (clear emergency) ...read more.


then unlikely that direct help will be given bystander will probably leave the scene. SUPPORTING EVIDENCE Research into the costs of helping PILIAVIN - VICTIM CHARACTERISTICS If helper is at risk because the victim could cause harm then less likely to help Observation studies on New York subway using an actor to collapse to see who would help Less likely to help a drunk / more likely to help disabled BATSON - TIME Less likely to help if in a rush Participants were told they had a task to complete to a deadline. They then encountered someone needing help. Those in a rush were less likely to help than those who had more time. CRITICISMS OF AROUSAL/COST-REWARD MODEL * Doesn't explain why people will behave impulsively in serious emergencies. We don't have time to weigh up the costs and rewards of helping. * People do not need to become aroused before helping. Some people will help without becoming emotional aroused e.g. a doctor is trained give help and respond calmly in emergency situation CONCLUSION The Arousal/Cost-Reward model is more acceptable because it considers the emotional effects of dealing with an emergency. BUT Research is based in individualistic culture. In collectivist cultures helping behaviour is more likely as there is greater concern for the individuals within the group. The Decision model and the Arousal/cost-reward model may not be appropriate. ...read more.

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