ALTRUISM AND SELF first submission

ALTRUISM AND SELF first submission - THE POWER OF STRANGERS...

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THE POWER OF STRANGERS AND MONEY 1 The power of strangers and money on altruistic behavior Jessica H. Nguyen University of California, Los Angeles
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THE POWER OF STRANGERS AND MONEY 2 Human history reveals the conflict many individuals face when the opportunity to help others in need arises—many are torn as whether to take action or ignore the situation completely. Psychologists have always been curious and baffled by the kindness people show towards fellow men; although, it is just as interesting to find that when the majority of people are asked what they think others would do in situations requiring helping action many would contend that no one would help. Therefore, the issue of altruism and self-interest remains a relevant topic of study in the field of psychology. Our study in particular, focused on the effects of social situation and personal gain on an individual’s choice to behave in either an altruistic or self- interest manner. The social situation condition involved the presence of strangers, and a money reward offered to the individual for helping served as another condition. We sought to understand the interaction of individuals’ decisions as whether to act altruistically or not, especially in social settings and for the chance of a reward. Thus, researchers continue to raise questions and attempt to unveil the reasons and motives behind the phenomena of helping behavior. For example, the research done by Holmes, Miller, and Lerner (2001) attempted to shed light on the altruism and self-interest debate by involving an element of exchange. The researchers found, through previous studies, the total amount in donations were higher for interest groups that offered a product in exchange for a money donation. Therefore, Holmes, Miller, and Lerner (2001) conducted two studies that attempted to uncover the façade that is altruism which became apparent when an exchange of some sort was involved. Interestingly our own study also sought a similar exchange theory—in our case, we found helping behavior to be influenced by exchanging service for money. Although the approach of this study differed from our own, Holmes, Miller, and Lerner hypothesized in their first study that the higher the need of
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THE POWER OF STRANGERS AND MONEY 3 the interest group, the larger the donation when there is an exchange offered (2001, p.146). As for their second study, the researchers hypothesized that there would be a higher donation in the exchange condition than in the simple donation condition (donating money with no exchange), and that the donation would be dependent on the financial proposition whether individuals feel that they got a fair deal for donating (2001, p. 147). For example, researchers presented participants with a “Fair price,” “Bargain Price”, and an “Altruist’s Price” in which they manipulated how they presented each condition—how much the exchange product cost in stores,
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This note was uploaded on 02/24/2010 for the course PSYCH 100B taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '01 term at UCLA.

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ALTRUISM AND SELF first submission - THE POWER OF STRANGERS...

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