Discuss Factors That Facilitate or Impede Helping Behaviours.

2389 Words Dec 19th, 2010 10 Pages
Discuss factors that facilitate or impede helping behaviour

Pro-social behaviour can be defined as 'any actions that benefit another regardless of the benefits or self-sacrifices of the actor' (Wispe 1972, as cited in Collins 2004). A subcategory of pro-social behaviour is helping behaviour, which can be defined as an intentional behaviour or act that benefits another human being. There are many factors that can facilitate or impede helping behaviour and it is important to recognise the situations in which this may occur.

One of the key events that spurred the interest of psychologists in relation to helping behaviour and what facilitates and impedes such acts was the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964 (as cited in Collins 2004).
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Other theories of what leads to helping behaviour include the negative-state relief model, proposed by Caldini et al in 1987 (Collins 2004). This model suggests that when we feel an experience of a negative state, such as sorrow or guilt, we are more motivated and more likely to help others in order to alleviate our mood. As such behaviour is personally rewarding, it eliminates the negative feelings. This view is similar to Batson's hypothesis in that it suggests that the motivation to help another is egotistic.

In contrast to this view, Wyatt 1978 (Blackboard 18/03/2010), proposed that if the negative state is neither guilt or sadness and instead a person is merely in a bad mood, then they will become more inner-focused and will be less concerned for the feelings or welfare of others and are less likely to help.

When considering the likelihood of a person in a good mood helping others, it appears that again there are contrasting views. In a study by Isen and Levin in 1972 (Collins 2004), they carried out in an experiment in a shopping mall where participants either did or did not find money (10 cents) in a phone booth. As the person left the phone booth, a confederate walked by the participant and dropped sheaf's of paper. The study found the 84 per cent of those who found the money assisted in helping to pick up the papers, whereas only 4 per cent of those who did not find the money assisted in helping. This study suggests

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