PSC 151 Final Review (Chapters 12-16)
Chapter 12: Helping
A motive to increase another’s welfare without conscious regard for one’s self-
is selfishness in reverse.
Social-exchange theory (psychological):
The theory that human interactions are transactions
that aims to maximize one’s rewards and minimize one’s costs.
Human interactions are guided by a “social economics.” We exchange not only material
goods and money but also social goods – love, services, information, and status.
Rewards that motivate helping may be eternal or internal.
Rewards may be internal. Helping increases our sense of self-worth.
A motive (supposedly underlying all behavior) to increase one’s own welfare. The
opposite of altruism, which aims to increase another’s welfare.
Our eagerness to do good after doing bad reflects our need to reduce
restore a shaken self-image.
People, who suffer the loss of a spouse or a child, whether through death or separation, often
undergo a period of intense self-preoccupation, which restrains giving to others.
The feel bad-do good effect
occurs with people whose attentions is on others, people for whom
altruism is therefore rewarding.
Helping softens a bad mood and sustains a good mood.
A positive mood is in turn, conductive to positive thoughts and positive self-esteem,
which predispose up to positive behavior.
of our lives, are social expectations. They
Researchers have identified two social norms that motivate altruism:
Reciprocity norm (sociological):
An expectation that people will help, not hurt, those
who have helped them.
To those who help us, we should return help, not harm.
Reciprocity within social networks helps define the social capital – the
supportive connections, information flow, trust and cooperative actions that
keep a community healthy.
: The mutual support and cooperation enabled by a social
Neighbors keeping an eye on one another’s homes is social capital in
When people cannot reciprocate, they may feel threatened and demeaned by
Social responsibility norm:
An expectation that people will help those needing help.
People in collectivist cultures (i.e., India) support the social-responsibility norm
more strongly than in individualistic cultures (i.e., USA).
Responses are closely tied with
. If we attribute the need to an
uncontrollable predicament, we help. If we attribute the need to the person’s