Psychology- Internal Assessment

Authors Avatar

Internal assessment

Experiment 1-

the empathy-altruism model, in Boston et al (1981)

the aim of this experiment was to prove two types of emotions that affect someone when seeing an other person suffering.


In Batson's classic experiment, students where asked to listen to tapes of an interview with a student named Carol. She talked about her struggles, and how far she was falling behind at school.

Students were each given a letter, asking them to meet with Carol and share lecture notes with her.

The experimenter varied the level of empathy, telling one group to try to focus on how Carol was feeling (high empathy level), while members of the group were told they did not need to concerned with her feeling (low empathy level).

The experimenters also varied the cost of not helping. The high-cost group was told that Carol would be in their psychology class when she returned to school. The low-cost group believed Carol would finish the class at home.

Join now!

The two emotions previously mentioned were personal distress (like anxiety and fear) and empathetic concern (sympathy, compassion, tenderness).


The result confirmed the empathy-altruism hypothesis. Those in the high-empathy group0 were almost equally likely to help Carol in either set of circumstances, while the low-empathy group helped out of self-interest. Thinking about seeing her in class every day probably made them feel guilty if they did not help.


Though Boston's model makes it easier to predict behaviour, it is difficult to measure one's level of empathy.

This experiment can be defined unethical due to ...

This is a preview of the whole essay