The Effect of Personal Characteristics on Prosocial Behaviour Essay

The Effect of Personal Characteristics on Prosocial Behaviour Essay

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The Effect of Personal Characteristics on Prosocial Behaviour

In this essay, it will be first looked at the effect personal
characteristics have on Prosocial behaviour including the level of
moral reasoning of individuals, vicarious emotional reactions,
altruism, guilt, self concern, the Just World hypothesis and also the
biological approach. Secondly it will be looked at how being part of a
group can effect an individuals Prosocial behaviour. Intra-group
factors that will be covered include the Bystander Effect, modelling
and norms. Finally, factors concerning immediate and larger context
will be covered.

Prosocial behaviour is an act by an individual or a group that is seen
as valued by society. There are many reasons for why or why not people
act in a prosocial way which can be looked at from different levels of
analysis. One situation for the potential of prosocial behaviour is a
man getting beaten up in a reasonably public place.

On a personal level of analysis one reason for why or why not someone
may help this man is to do with their level of intelligence. People
with higher intelligence would be better able to take another person’s
perspective and so more likely to help. Meta analyses have shown that
IQ test scores correlate positively although weakly with prosocial
behaviour (Hinde. A.R and Groebel. J. 1991). This suggests that
intelligence is an indirect factor of helping behaviour. Therefore
those with higher intelligence levels will have higher levels of moral
reasoning allowing them to evaluate a situation and decide whether or
not they are responsible for helping. Milgram conducted a study which
involved particip...

... middle of paper ...

...t to help because of their lack of skill. Whereas in a different
situation where help is needed, they may have the skills to help and
so are more likely to help. Other factors that determine prosocial
behaviour that haven’t been mentioned include inter-group analysis.
Help may be more likely or less likely between different groups of
people. Overall, this essay has covered a wide range of reasons for
why people may or may not help at three different levels of analysis.


DAVEY. G. (2005). Complete Psychology. Hodder and Stoughton.

HINDE. A.R. AND GROEBEL. J. (1991). Cooperation and Prosocial
Behaviour. UK: Cambridge University Press.

HOGG. M. A. AND VAUGHAN. G. M (2005). Social Psychology. Pearsoned.

MACAULAY. J. AND BERKOWITZ. L. (1970). Altruism and Helping Behaviour.
USA: Academic Press INC.

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