Altruism Is A Form Of Selfless Behavior Essay

Altruism Is A Form Of Selfless Behavior Essay

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Altruism is a form of selfless behavior that benefits others without benefiting the self. Even more extreme than altruism is heroism which is a form of altruism that requires a tremendous amount of sacrifice. In general, heroism  (1) involves some type of quest , (2) some form of actual or anticipated sacrifice or risk, (3) can be passive or active, (4) can be one time or recurrent (Franco, 2011). 
The current essay analyzes Wesley Autrey 's heroism. The case description section briefly describes the case. The theoretical analysis section summarizes major theories which explain the causes of Autrey 's heroism. In the end, the current essay integrates these theories and provides a coherent analysis of Autrey 's behaviors. 

Case Description
Wesley Autrey is an ordinary father who has two daughters and works as a construction worker, but something extraordinary happened on January 2, 2007. When Autrey was waiting for a train at a subway station with his two young daughters, he noticed a white man (Peter) was foaming at the mouth. He thought that he was clearly having a seizure. Autrey first used a pen to keep Peter 's jaw open. Peter gradually recovered from the seizure and started to stagger around the platform. Autrey thought that Peter had recovered, but Peter slipped from the platform and fell onto the tracks.
Autrey saw the imminent lights of a train. In a split second, Autrey decided to save the man and jumped onto the track. As he was trying to drag the man off the track, Autrey realized that there was not much time. However, he didn 't back off.  Instead, he dragged peter to the nearby trench between the tracks and threw himself onto Peter 's body. He held him down waiting for the train to pass by. The train rushed over them...


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...hile other features of the environment (ex., confined space) might influence Autrey’s sense of self-efficacy of helping (cognitive factor). Another example might be Autrey’s thought of Peter losing his limb (Cognitive factor) might have triggered empathic concern (emotional factor). Furthermore, different cognitive variables might influence each other as well. For example, promotion focus might enhance Autrey’s self-efficacy.
In sum, Autrey’s heroism involves complex interactions between many variables. More specifically, Autrey’s situational factors (number of people, characteristics of the bystanders and the victims) influence his cognition (self-efficacy, self-confidence, self-consistency, self-discrepancy,) and emotion (emotional distress, empathetic concern), and the interaction between the cognitive and emotional processes generate Autrey’s heroic behaviors.

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