Investigating Gender Differences in Helping

1481 Words6 Pages
Investigating Gender Differences in Helping Aim: To find out whether subjects will help opposite gender students faster than same sex helper would. Introduction: Altruism is a form of pro-social behaviour in which a person will voluntarily help another at some cost to themselves. The primary motivation for altruistic behaviour is seen as a desire to improve the welfare of another person rather than the anticipation of some reward or for any other reason that might indicate self-interest. One of the major problems for psychologists has been determining what is truly altruistic and what might be better explained in terms of egoism. Batson et al.’s (1997) empathy-altruism hypothesis proposes that empathic concern evokes an altruistic motivation. Studies supporting this hypothesis have systematically varied whether individuals can only obtain egoistic goals by helping, or whether they can escape from the situation and obtain the egoistic goals without helping. These studies demonstrate that at least some people have helping intentions that are not explained by egoistic motivations, such as the relief of personal distress, escaping public shame for not helping, the relief of sadness, and the desire to make oneself happy. In one study, Batson et al. (1981) used a placebo drug which had no real effects but would led participants to interpret their reactions as high or low empathy. Participants then watched a female confederate (‘Elaine’) apparently receiving random electric shocks. After two trials the confederate appeared to become distressed. Participants were then faced with a difficult decision – take her place (showing empathetic ... ... middle of paper ... ...ikely to help as they do not feel any empathy or close attachments to the young people or they have less stimulus overload and worries, so their need to alleviate negative emotions is less. As the study is done in one area, it might not be possible to generalise findings to other areas and cultures. It is suggested that individualistic countries are less likely to help than collectivist countries due to the values and beliefs of that culture. Research also shows that in big cities people are less likely to help, which could be attributed to stimulus overload. Modifications would be to conduct the same experiment in different areas and at different times of day. The sample should be made bigger to get more reliable results. References Psychology for A2 Level, Mike Cardwell, Liz Clark, Claire Meldrum (2001)
Open Document