Social responsibility
Social responsibility
• Learning outcomes
1. Evaluate psychological research (through theories
and studies) relevant to the study of human
2. Distinguish between altruism and pro-social
3. Evaluate research investigating altruism
4. Explain cross-cultural differences in pro-social
5. Evaluate research investigating bystanderism
Help or not to help…
• Kitty Genovese:
• Another example from the USA
And another…smoke filled room:
• Pro-social behaviour – is when a behaviour
that benefits another person or has positive
consequences (focus on the outcome not the
• Helping behavior – is when a behaviour intends
to help or benefit another person (is planned)
• Altruism – is when one helps another person for
no reward, EVEN at some cost to oneself
Activity: come up with one example for each
Psychological research on altruism
• Biological altruism (evolutionary)
• Psychological altruism (mostly cognitive)
Biological altruism
Biological altruism –
what could be
advantageous to the group a person belongs
to rather than the individual alone
• Kin Selection theory: the closer/ more related the
greater the chance of altruistic behaviour
• Dawkins (1976) proposed the "selfish gene
theory" explains why individuals are willing to
sacrifice themselves to protect the lives of their
kin but does not explain why one help
strangers… and genes does not directly cause a
behaviour (more complex than that)
Reciprocal altrusim theory
• By Trivers (1971)
• ”you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”
• Meaning that one help (even strangers) with the
expectation that the favour will be returned in the
• Come up with an example
• "prisoner's dilemma" – game by Axelrod and
Evaluation of the evolutionary
• Animals
• Culture
• Adoption
Psychological explanations of
Psychological explanations of
• Lerner and Lichtman (1968) carried out an
experiment similar to Milgram’s
• Schaller and Cialdini (1988) proposed the negativestate relief model – we help so we feel better
(reduce the distress) or we walk away
• The empathy- altruism model by Batson et al.
(1981) consists of two emotions: personal distress
(egoistic behavior) and empathetic concern
(altruistic behaviour)
• Is empathy biological or learned? Read the study on
p. 262 and link it to the biological level of analysis
Are you really caring ( CAS)
• P. 261
• John Rabe: a good Nazi? P. 263
Pro-social behaviour and the
bystander effect
• Starting on p. 263 – 268
• Two responisible for p. 263 – 265:
• Two responsible for 265- 267 :the arousal-costreward model of pro-social behaviour
• One 267- 268: the role of social norms in prosocial behaviour
Read and present to the others – clearly and
without reading from the paper – use only key
words – present Tuesday after the break.
Cross-cultural research on pro-social behaviour
Last part of 8.1
Culture play a role on pro-social
• Whiting (1979) studyied children in six countries
and their helping behaviour. Results were that
Kenya, Mexico scored high compared to US that
scored lowest
• - why do you think?
Social identity theory
• Helps to explain how we determine wheter to
help someone or not – we tend to help more to
those who are similar to us
• The US were most likely to help someone from
an out-group compared to Chinese and
Japanese who helped the most to their in-group
Levine et al. 1990: helpfulness
towards strangers was assessed
• In 36 cities across the US
• And 23 large cities around the world
• Independent field experiments were used
• Explain the experimental design + mention +
and -
Levine et al. 1990: helpfulness
towards strangers was assessed
• Results:
• In the US:
• Small and medium-sized cities in the south east
were most helpful
• North-eastern and west coast cities the least
• Best predictor: population density
Levine et al. 1990: helpfulness
towards strangers was assessed
• Results: using the US data to compare:
• Latin America highest
• Helping rates high in low economic productivity
countries (less purchasing power for each
• Higher in cities with slow pace of life ( walking
• Thought that the city’s personality affects
individual behaviour (what do think
Helsingborg’s is?)
Levine et al. 1990: helpfulness
towards strangers was assessed
• However, two cities went against these
tendencies. Copenhagen and Vienna, which are
both fast paste and have more money
• And in Kuala Lumpur (slow paste) they were not
helpful at all
• Conclusion: studies show that where the person
was raised has less effect on helping than the
place where they currently live
Levine et al. 1990: helpfulness
towards strangers was assessed
• The methodological limitations:
• 1-5 on p. 270 go through
• Do “be an enquirer” on p. 270

Pro-social behaviour