Ch 8: Altruism & Prosocial Behavior

About This Chapter

This comprehensive social psychology chapter covers the foundations of altruism and prosocial behavior through a series of short lessons and quizzes. Access this chapter whenever you need to study these particular concepts for a class assignment, project, research paper or psychology exam.

Altruism & Prosocial Behavior - Chapter Summary

In this social psychology chapter, you'll review terms, theories and concepts pertaining to altruism and prosocial behavior. Using a simplified and engaging teaching style, our instructors define essential concepts like empathy-altruism, negative state relief, egoism, diffusion of responsibility, urban overload, prosocial behavior predictors and much more. You can work through the lessons at any time that fits your schedule, and we encourage you to take the accompanying assessments to retain the information you study. The chapter also includes an Ask the Expert feature that you can use if you have any questions. Upon completion of the chapter, you should be able to:

  • Discuss the origins and social influence of altruism in social psychology
  • Differentiate between empathy-altruism and the social exchange theory
  • Recognize predictors for altruism and prosocial behavior
  • Explain how prosocial behavior is affected by positive moods and negative state relief
  • Describe the effects of egoism and altruism
  • Summarize the diffusion of responsibility theory
  • Define the concepts of urban overload and pluralistic ignorance
  • Assess the bystander effect by analyzing the Kitty Genovese murder and the research of Latane and Darley
  • Determine how situational factors, gender and culture can predict helping/prosocial behavior

10 Lessons in Chapter 8: Altruism & Prosocial Behavior
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What is Altruism in Social Psychology? - Origins & Social Influence

1. What is Altruism in Social Psychology? - Origins & Social Influence

Why do we help others, and when do we decide not to help others? In this lesson, you'll take a look at the biological and social motivation behind altruism.

Social Exchange Theory vs. Empathy-Altruism

2. Social Exchange Theory vs. Empathy-Altruism

Social psychologists disagree on why people help others. Two theories on the subject are social exchange theory and the empathy-altruism hypothesis. In this lesson, we'll learn more about each of these theories.

Altruism and Prosocial Behavior: Definition & Predictors

3. Altruism and Prosocial Behavior: Definition & Predictors

Prosocial behavior is any action intended to help others. One motivation for prosocial behavior is altruism, or the desire to help others with no expectation of reward. In this lesson, we explore prosocial behavior and the elements that social psychologists have identified as predicting it.

How Positive Moods and Negative State Relief Affect Prosocial Behavior

4. How Positive Moods and Negative State Relief Affect Prosocial Behavior

Your mood, good or bad, affects whether you are willing to engage in prosocial behavior. In this lesson, we look at how and why mood can determine whether people help others.

Egoism & Altruism

5. Egoism & Altruism

Egoism and altruism each occupy a side of the spectrum of social behavior and engagement. Through this lesson, you will learn what defines these concepts and explore some examples of how they operate in society.

Diffusion of Responsibility: Definition, Theory & Examples

6. Diffusion of Responsibility: Definition, Theory & Examples

In this lesson, we will define the theory of diffusion of responsibility and look into its features. We will also consider real life examples that display the phenomenon.

Urban Overload, Pluralistic Ignorance & Diffusion of Responsibility: Definition and Effect on Helping

7. Urban Overload, Pluralistic Ignorance & Diffusion of Responsibility: Definition and Effect on Helping

Studies have shown that people in large cities are less likely to help people out than people in small towns. In this lesson, we'll learn why this is by looking at the theories of urban overload, pluralistic ignorance, and diffusion of responsibility.

Defining the Bystander Effect: Kitty Genovese Murder & Research by Latane and Darley

8. Defining the Bystander Effect: Kitty Genovese Murder & Research by Latane and Darley

In 1964, Kitty Genovese was murdered outside her New York apartment building. Some of her neighbors heard her screams but didn't call for help. This lesson explains the social phenomenon known as the bystander effect, which helps to explain why Genovese's neighbors didn't help her.

Prosocial Behavior: How Gender and Culture Predict Helping

9. Prosocial Behavior: How Gender and Culture Predict Helping

Social psychologists have found that both gender and culture help to predict people's prosocial behavior. In this lesson, we look at both of these factors and how they affect helping behaviors.

Prosocial Behavior: How Situational Factors Predict Helping

10. Prosocial Behavior: How Situational Factors Predict Helping

Predicting whether or not a person will help another depends on many situational factors. In this lesson, you will learn about the situations that lead to prosocial behavior and how to increase helping behaviors in others.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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