A Study of Reciprocity-Arousing Potential

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Most traditional upbringings include a few key life lessons. Among these is a sense of paying it forward. There are many different proverbs to describe this occurrence; “Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you,” and “One good turn deserves another,” The idea of reciprocity is such a generalized norm that people often don’t realize that they partake in this behavior. These reciprocal behaviors can often be very simple; holding a door, offering favors, and sharing some of your time can help to establish equity in relationships. People keep track of the good things done for them so that they can pay back these good deeds. Being indebted to anyone is a situation most people are uncomfortable with. Often this decision to help is based off of likability. Likability is a precursor to relationships in which equity would be practiced. In a study of children and their helping behaviors sociometric status, the degree to which a person is liked by their peers, was a defining factor in the children’s decision process. Those who had a high sociometric status, or were generally viewed as being likable by their classmates generally received the most help even when they themselves did not engage in many helping behaviors (Marcus & Jenny 1977). Although they did not often reciprocate help the implicit personality that had been formed by their classmates was strong enough to counteract this. The students with a high sociometric status had already established themselves as someone deserving of their classmates help. The implicit theories were strong enough that the absence of prosocial behavior could not influence their classmates to think otherwise of them. In Lynn and Greenberg’s study on codependents and the hel... ... middle of paper ... ...e Survey of Life Experiences: A decontaminated hassles scale for adults. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 15, 221- Lyon, D., & Greenberg, J. (1991). Evidence of Codependency in Women with an Alcoholic Parent: Helping Out Mr. Wrong. Journal of Personality and Social Behavior, 61 (3), 435- 439. Marcus, R.F., & Jenny, B. (1977). A Naturalistic Study of the Reciprocity in the Helping Behavior of Young Children. The Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 23 (3), 195- 206. Snyder, C. R. (1994). The psychology of hope: You can get there from here. New York: Free Press. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press Yinon, Y., Dovrat, M., & Avni, A. (1981). The Reciprocity-Arousal Potential of the Requester’s Occupation and Helping Behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 11 (3), 252- 258.

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