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Lecture 15 - Justifying Our Actions Pt. 2, Helping Pt. 1

by: Leslie Ogu

Lecture 15 - Justifying Our Actions Pt. 2, Helping Pt. 1 PSYC 2012

Marketplace > George Washington University > Psychlogy > PSYC 2012 > Lecture 15 Justifying Our Actions Pt 2 Helping Pt 1
Leslie Ogu
GPA 3.01

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In this class, we finish discuss how we justify our actions, specifically in relation to cognitive dissonance. Then we discuss helping, and the different factors that affect whether a person will h...
Social Psychology
Stock, M
Class Notes
social psychology, justifying, actions, helping, self-affirmation, strategy, dissonance, cognitive dissonance, Ben Franklin effect, prosocial behavior, altruism, selfless, gain, reward, Benefit, evolutionary psychology, reciprocity, kin selection, natural
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Leslie Ogu on Tuesday March 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 2012 at George Washington University taught by Stock, M in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see Social Psychology in Psychlogy at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 03/29/16
Leslie Ogu PSYC 2012  03/23/2016 ­ ​Justifying Our Actions Pt. 2, Helping Pt. 1    Justifying Our Actions Pt. 2  Alternative to Dissonance Theory  ➢ Self­Affirmation:​  the recognition and assertion of the existence and value of  one’s individual self  ○ An indirect strategy for reducing cognitive dissonance  ■ Restoring positive self­evaluations / self­concepts threatened by the  dissonance  ■ Reducing dissonance by adding cognition about other positive  attributes  ○ Accomplished by focusing on positive self­attributes (i.e., the good things  about yourself)  ■ Ex: “I broke my diet today, but I’m a friendly person”  ● Works best for those “at­risk” **    The Ben Franklin Effect  ➢ Def: ​ dissonance theory predicts we will like someone more after doing them a  favor  ➢ “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another  than he whom you yourself have obliged”  ○ Franklin reported this after he borrowed a book from a political opponent  and the other politician became more civil towards him    Helping Pt. 1  Definitions (Intro)  ➢ Prosocial Behavior:​  any act performed with the goal of benefiting another  person  ○ ** ​NOT​  always selfless **  ○ Requires an actual action or activity  ■ Ex: The action of donating to a charity  ➢ Altruism:​  motive / desire to help another person even if it involves a cost (or at  least no benefit) to the helper  ○ Life or death situations usually altruistic    Why Do We Help? **  ➢ Evolutionary Psychology  ○ If the goal is to ensure our own survival, why should we help others at a  cost to ourselves?  ○ Why do we help non­kin?  ■ Norm of Reciprocity (or reciprocal altruism):​  the expectation  that helping others will increase the likelihood of them helping us in  the future  ● Adaptive strategy for our ancestors ⇒ becomes  genetically­based tendency  ➢ Kin Selection:​  behaviors that help a genetic relative are favored by natural  selections  ○ This means a gene that causes an individual to help genetic relatives is  actually helping a copy of itself  ■ Ex: People say they would be more likely to help their genetic  relatives than their non­relatives in life­threatening situations  ○ Kin are helped more than non­kin especially in life­or­death situations  ○ Females are helped more than males, except elderly female  (post­menopausal)  ○ Young are helped more than old  ○ Healthy relatives helped more than non­healthy in life­or­death situations  ○ In life­or­death situations, relatedness matters (this assures our genes will  continue)  ○ In everyday helping situations, needs prevail over genes (helping those  who actually need help)  ➢ Social Learning Theory:​  helping is learned through observation and  reinforcement  ○ Children learn to help by being rewarded  ○ As people mature, reinforcements become less necessary **  ■ This is because they internalize the value of helping  ➢ Social Exchange Theory:​  maximizing rewards / benefits and minimizing the  costs  ○ People will help when the rewards are high relative to the costs  ○ Ex(s) of Rewards: social approval, feeling good about yourself  ○ Ex(s) of Costs: physical danger, time, embarrassment, guilt    Who Will Help? **  ➢ Gender Differences  ○ Women are more likely to give long­term, nurturing help  ○ Men are more likely to help in emergencies, especially when there is:  ■ An audience  ■ Potential danger  ■ A woman in need of help  ➢ Religiosity  ○ Religious people are only slightly more likely to help during emergencies  ○ Religious people are more likely to provide “planned” help  ■ Ex: volunteering, giving to charity  ➢ Mood  ○ Good moods can lead to helpful behavior  ■ Ex: tips on a sunny v. cloudy day  ■ Ex: Isen and Levin (1972) study done where dime was left in return  slot of telephone  ● Those with the dime were more likely to help the confederate  pick up papers (84%) opposed to those who didn’t get the  dime (4%)  ■ Why do good moods predict prosocial behavior? **  ● Helping maintains good mood  ● Good moods make us see the good in people  ○ Positive Thoughts  ⇒  Positive Behavior  ● Good moods increase self­awareness  ○ More likely to act in accordance with our values  ○ ** Bad moods can ​ sometimes​  lead to prosocial behavior **  ■ Negative State Relief Hypothesis:​  people help to alleviate their  own bad mood (form of prosocial behavior)  ○ Exceptions: people who are very depressed or angry do not tend to help  much  ○ Guilt  ■ feelings of guilt tend to increase the likelihood of helping  ■ Churchgoers are more likely to contribute to a charity before  confession than afterward  ■ “Breaking” a camera increases the likelihood of helping a  completely different person    Similarity  ➢ We are more likely to help those similar to us  ○ In­group v. Out­group  ➢ We like those similar to us  ○ Liking lecture and shared birthday study      Good Samaritan Study  ➢ Princeton Theological Seminary students that were either early or late to give a  talk across campus about the old parable of the Good Samaritan  ➢ Each of them encountered a man (actor) slumped in a doorway who was  coughing and groaning  ➢ Results:  ○ Time was the main determinant if someone helped or not  ■ 63% of participants helped when not in a hurry  ■ 10% stopped to help in a rush  ■ Those instructed to give the speech about the Good Samaritan  speech were twice as likely to help  ● However, most didn’t provide help in a hurry 


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