Human Observation Project General Psychology Psyc 2301 Jazmin Rolon 20 August 2012 I. Problem: Prosocial behavior refers to “voluntary actions that are intended to help or benefit another individual or group of individuals” (Eisenberg and Mussen 1989). This definition refers to consequences of the people who do the actions rather than the motivations behind those actions. These behaviors include a broad range of activities: sharing, comforting, rescuing, and helping.
Though prosocial behavior can be confused with altruism, they are, in fact, two distinct concepts. Prosocial behavior refers to a pattern of activity, whereas, altruism is the motivation to help others out of pure regard for their needs rather than how the action will benefit oneself. A familiar example of altruism is when an individual makes an anonymous donation to a person, group or institution without any resulting recognition, political or economic gain; here, the donation is the prosocial action and the altruism is what motivates the doer to action.
II. Theory: Society teaches that a good person is helpful of others, this is where the procicial behavior, altruism, philanthropy and egoism and mutual benefit get very well separate although they are very similar. More males are whiling to help a good looking single woman that drops her keys than women are. Even little boys are more prone to help the subject mentioned above than little girls. III. Hypothesis:
Between the hours of 1:00 and 3:00 on Saturday and Sunday afternoon adults and children walking from the Wal-Mart parking lot to the store and back, tend to be more helpful of a woman that is dressed up and seems attractive with some items that she dropped than they do to a dirty not so attractive woman on the same situation on the following weekend. IV. Procedure or Methodology: The investigator dressed up and made herself look appealing and acted very friendly. She smiled at the subjects as they approached her, she purposely dropped some items to see who would help her.
An assistant was trained to stand at corner to observe from a different point of view. On the following weekend at the same days and times the investigator made herself look dirty and not as attractive as she looked the previous weekend. She still just as friendly and kept the same smile as she dropped some items in front of the same Walt-mart. This time she had a one year old child with her. The infant was friendly as well. A composition notebook was used by the assistant to record the behavior. These dates are going to be labeled W1 and W2. V. Results: 5 samples were taken on both weekends, out of these samples. The amount of people walking back and forth is unknown but in the 2 hour period with breaks in between only 15 people stopped and helped. These samples are divided as follows: on W1 ten people stopped and helped the investigator, six of them were males between the ages of approximately 20 thru 30 years of age. They all seem to be more interested on getting a date rather than helping. There were two very helpful little boys no older than 10 and two women that were walking very close to the investigator when she dropped the items.
No little girls stopped to help. On W2 on the same exact time frame only 5 samples were collected, 3 were men above 40 years of age and 2 women of advance age. No children stopped this time, both men and women were more interested on playing with the infant accompanying the investigator. VI. Discussion: The results show that on W1 men were showing the egotistic behavior and motivated by self-gain rather than altruism or prosocial behavior. The females and the little boys both showed a prosocial behavior moved by the motivation of helping someone.
Behavior Change VII. State the Problem: The results of the observation support the theory that procicial behavior, altruism, philanthropy and egoism and mutual benefit get very well separate although they are very similar. More males are whiling to help a good looking single woman that drops her keys than women are. Even little boys are more prone to help the subject mentioned above than little girls. With findings of 80% of the samples taken favor and supported this theory. VIII. Theory:
Soldiers are trained to be altruist even when they don’t agree with it they are taught a sense of self service and duty and no matter how they feel about someone or what the person looks like they are going to help. Males and females soldiers the same. IX. Hypothesis: Between the hours of 1:00 and 3:00 on Monday and Tuesday afternoon adults and children walking from the Fort Hood Commissary’s parking lot to the store and back, tend to be more helpful of a woman that is dressed up and seems attractive with some items that she dropped than they do to a dirty not so attractive woman on the same situation on the following day.
X. Procedure or Methodology: The investigator dressed up and made herself look appealing and acted very friendly. She smiled at the subjects as they approached her, she purposely dropped some items to see who would help her. An assistant was trained to stand at corner to observe from a different point of view. On the following day at the same days and times the investigator made herself look dirty and not as attractive as she looked the previous day. She still just as friendly and kept the same smile as she dropped some items in front of the same facility on the installation.
This time she had a one year old child with her. The infant was friendly as well. A composition notebook was used by the assistant to record the behavior. These dates are going to be labeled D1 and D2. XI. Results: 30 samples were taken on both days, out of these samples. The amount of people walking back and forth is unknown but in the 2 hour period with breaks in between 30 people stopped and helped. These samples are divided as follows: on D1 ten males stopped and helped the investigator, all of them 20 thru 30 years of age. There were five female soldiers that helped. On D2 on he same exact time frame 15 samples were collected, 10 were me between 20 thru 30 years of age, there were 3 very helpful little boys no older than 10 and two women. No little girls stopped to help on any of the days. Everyone was very nice to the investigator and the infant. XII. Discussion: One can go many ways about these findings; I am going to state that soldiers are more attentive and altruist as stated on the theory and hypothesis. There are variable factors like weather and the fact that everyone in Fort Hood has a good job and the economy problems do not affect them as hard as hard as they people on the civilian side.
Therefor they could be on better moods and more prone to help. There were a bit of egotistic behavior on the second experiment but most of the soldiers were more interested on helping and keeping moving. Another variable could have been the fact that soldiers are trained to show discipline at all times and civilians can show their expressions and feelings wild. All we can definitely conclude is that more males than females are whiling to stop and help a female at any given time and place regardless of the situation or the clothing she is wearing. Historic Roots
There is evidence that voluntary actions that benefit others are rooted in human and animal behavior. In the 1970s, biologist Edward O. Wilson began a new field, sociobiology, to study social behaviors of animals and humans as motivated by the organism’s biology (1975). Wilson used documented examples of “helping” within many animal and insect species. Since the publishing of his innovative textbook, many books and articles have been published asserting that helping and, even, rescuing behaviors are innate in primates, helper bees, ants, wild dogs, and other species.
Naturally, developmental psychologists and other social scientists point to the animal world as proof that prosocial behavior is a preprogrammed biological function of humanity rather than solely nurtured or learned actions. Examples of humans engaging in helping behaviors are found in early, recorded history and prehistory. In North America, Native peoples had very strong communal cultures, with group survival relying on helping and giving practices. In the Northwestern Indian potlatch practice, guests were (and still are) invited to the event and given gifts by the host in the stature f the host’s guests’ position in the community. Among the Hopi, since A. D. 500, helpfulness and cooperation serve the good of the household as well as the individual; competition and self-assertion are not an aspect of Hopi culture. Similar prosocial traditions or life attitudes are found throughout time and the world. Often, the motivation for organized prosocial helping behaviors and altruism are associated with religious practice. The world’s three primary monotheistic traditions Islam, Judaism, and Christianity teach that helping the less fortunate is a religious obligation.
The compulsory alms tax, or zakat, is one of the five pillars of Islam. There are also numerous examples of God commanding Jews to aid the poor throughout the Old Testament. Additionally, Jesus tells his followers the parable of “The Good Samaritan,” instructing them to follow the example of the good neighbor who aided a poor beaten man previously ignored by other passersby, including a priest. The emphasis on giving and helping within the Judeo Christian religions is a primary reason prosocial behavior is considered a social norm and a moral imperative in Western culture. Importance
The concept of prosocial behavior and its psychological foundations are extremely important in furthering research and practice in a number of fields, including education, social work, criminal justice and law. For the purpose of this paper, the concept is also key to understanding individual philanthropy and group philanthropy. It is this theoretical understanding that is needed to draw practical implication that assist in the health of the philanthropic sector. Theoretical Understanding Philanthropy is very similar to prosocial behavior in its definition and in that varied motivations influence philanthropic action.
Philanthropy is voluntary action for the common good, including voluntary giving, serving, and association. According to Aristotle, one can define a thing by explaining the reason for its existence. Simply put, philanthropy exists because people of a certain disposition under a certain set of conditions are inclined to assist others, to enact prosocial behavior. Since the psychology of prosocial behavior sheds light on what those circumstances are and how those inclinations play out, it arguably explains why philanthropy exists (see Chapter V. , Bentley and Nissan 1996). Moreover, both prosocial ehavior and philanthropic acts are driven by a blend of altruistic and self-interested motivations. Self-interest comes in varying degrees. Egoism, seen as extreme self-interest, occurs when self-importance or a need to feed one’s own image is the motivator (e. g. , making a large monetary donation to the city symphony for the purpose of having the hall named in your behalf). Mutual benefit occurs when a person assists another with an expectation that person or another will one day do something to return the favor (such as when a person cares for his vacationing neighbor’s home).
Even people whose philanthropy is highly altruistic, and recipient-oriented, will derive some personal benefit from their own prosocial actions, though, the benefit may simply be a sense of self-worth. Once a person learns she derives personal benefit (e. g. , higher self-esteem) from engaging in philanthropic activities, the desire for that benefit becomes a powerful incentive to engage in the behavior again. In a model identifying five factors that prompt voluntarism, Clary and Snyder (1990) found it is a combination of those incentives that ultimately motivates volunteers.
One of the factors is the desire to be altruistic, but the others are self-serving. Volunteers are motivated by socially-adjustable considerations (i. e. , the wish to be a part of a group), ego-defensive considerations (i. e. , the wish to reduce guilt), and the desire to acquire knowledge or skills for personal or professional education. However, the strength of egoistic motives relative to the strength of altruistic motives will vary by person and by situation – for instance, one person may be driven by a high level of altruism and a low level of egoism while another responds from a low level of altruism and a high level of egoism.
Finally, it should be remembered that prosocial behavior refers to helping which, in turn, means understanding the needs of the recipient and making a sincere effort to fulfill them. Thus, prosocial behavior should only refer to activities that honor the recipient’s interests. And as long as the would-be philanthropist considers those interests and tries to satisfy them, any act of helping or sharing may be considered philanthropic even if it happens to be driven by a high degree of self-benefit. Bibliography and Internet Resources Aristotle. “Posterior Analytics, Book II. ” In Introduction to
Aristotle, edited by Richard McKeon. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1974. ISBN: 0226560325. Batson, Daniel C. “Altruism and Prosocial Behavior. ” In The Handbook of Social Psychology, 4th ed. , edited by Daniel T. Gilbert, Susan T. Fiske, and Gardner Lindzey. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN: 0195213769. Bentley, Richard J. and Luana G. Nissan. The Roots of Giving and Serving: A Literature Review Studying How School-age Children Learn the Philanthropic Tradition. Indianapolis: Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, 1996. Burlingame, Dwight F. Altruism and Philanthropy: Definitional Issues. ” Essays on Philanthropy 10. Indianapolis: Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, 1993. Clary, E. G. , and M. Snyder. “A Functional Analysis of Volunteers’ Motivations. ” Spring Research Forum Working Papers. Washington, D. C. : INDEPENDENT SECTOR, 1990. Darley, John M. and Bibb Latane. The Unresponsive Bystander: Why Doesn’t He Help? Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1970. ISBN: 0139386130. Eisenberg, Nancy and Paul H. Mussen. The Roots of Prosocial Behavior in Children. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
ISBN: 0-521-33771-2. McChesney, R. D. “Charity and Philanthropy in Islam: Institutionalizing the Call to do Good. ” Essays on Philanthropy 14. Indianapolis: Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, 1995. Morgan, Wesley G. /University of Tennessee. “The Murder of Kitty Genovese” [online]. Available: http://web. utk. edu/~wmorgan/psy470/kitty2. htm[->0]. (12 December 2001). Pearson, Birger A. “Ancient Roots of Western Philanthropy: Pagan, Jewish, and Christian. ” Essays on Philanthropy. Indianapolis: Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, 1997.
Wilson, Edward O. Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, 25th Anniversary Edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0674002350. This paper was developed by a student taking a Philanthropic Studies course taught at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. It is offered by Learning To Give and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. This page may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only, all other rights reserved 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 [->0] – http://web. utk. edu/%7Ewmorgan/psy470/kitty2. htm