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Outline And Evaluate Two Explanations Of Human Altruism

1123 words - 5 pages

The first explanation of human altruism is the empathy altruism hypothesis carried out by Batson. He suggested that empathy involves feeling an emotional response that is consistent with another person's emotional state, and acting upon this feeling selflessly. He believe that witnessing someone in need will create empathetic concern for them therefore motivating the helper to attempt to alleviate the distress of the other person. Batson hypothesis suggests that some people are more empathetic than others and this is the reason why some people display altruism and others do not. Batson argues that the ability to take someone else's perspective depends on three different aspects: that the ...view middle of the document...

This then shows that empathy altruism is not without its bounds. Also another criticism of this study is that the participants may have just been showing demand characteristics and acting in the way they believe the researcher wants them to act in that particular situation. This may be because they were scared of the social disapproval of not helping someone In need.This shows that if the empathy model is correct, then inducing empathy should increase pro-social behaviour.The next explanation of human altruism is the negative state relief hypothesis carried out by Cialdini. This study is different to the empathy altruism hypothesis as he argues that we help for selfish reasons. He argues that when we do something wrong such as not helping someone in need, we feel guilty. As guilt is a negative state, for instance an unpleasant feeling, we are motivated to reduce it in some way. Also as children we are taught that helping others is good and is rewarded. According to this hypothesis, the motivation for helping others egoistic and concentrate more on what rewards we will receive from helping and how helping might reduce the guilt. Initially helping may appear altruistic but actually we are helping to enhance our own mood, which disagrees with what Batson says in his hypothesis.Research for this study was carried out by Manucia, who assessed the mood of his participants, good, neutral and bad, and gave half a mood fixing placebo drug. Those in a negative mood without the placebo were the most likely to help, as they wanted to increase their mood by helping. The participants in a neutral mood were the least likely to help whether or not they had taken the placebo because they general felt ok and didn't feel like they had to help. Another piece of research was done by Cialdini, who found that if he first improved the mood of his participants by giving them rewards they were less likely to behave pro-socially in a helping mood. This may be due to the fact they believe they wouldn't be affected by the guilt as they were in a good mood.This study has been criticised as others have found that people in a good mood...

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