Altruism - Suffolk City Public Schools

Altruism - Suffolk City Public Schools

Biological explanations for Altruism Ms. Carmelitano Bell Ringer Define Altruism: When one person helps another for no reward, and

even at some cost to themselves Types of Altruism Biological Humans may be hard-wired for self-preservation Based on evolutionary psychology Psychological

Human beings help others to avoid hurting themselves Based on cognitive psychology Today we will discuss Biological Altruism Evolutionary Psychology Recap:

What is evolutionary psychology? Darwin: believed that species have evolved over time in response to the changing environment Evolution: A trait that is favorable for survival will be passed down to the later generation Animals not born with this trait will die out before reproducing

Evolutionary Altruism In order for a species to survive what is necessary? Evolutionary Altruism argues that people act altruistically in order to preserve the genes of a species This is advantageous to the entire group rather than to the individual Kin Selection Theory

The degree of altruism is directly related to the number of genes shared by individuals The closer the relationship between the helper and those being helped, the greater the chance for the altruistic behavior Animal Study Evidence: Elephants helping a baby out of a mud-pit

Animal Studies Dawkins (1976) Selfish Gene Theory Humans have an innate drive for the survival and proliferation of their own genes Since animals living in social groups typically share genes, altruistic behavior

is seen as a way to guarantee ones own genes will be passed on to future generations Conclusions drawn from naturalistic observation Madsen et al (2007) Gathered college students from the United Kingdom and two South Africa Zulu villages. 1. Before the study participants were asked to give a list of

biological relatives who did not live with them 2. Participants were then asked to do painful exercises IE: Standing against a wall in a seated position 3. Participants were told that one relative would be chosen at random and: British - The longer they could remain seated against the wall, the more money the family member would be given 40 pounds/ 20 seconds South African The longer they could remain seated

against the wall, the more food the family member would be given Findings UK participants spent more time against the wall as the relative became closer in relation South African Participants, also stayed against the wall longer when the

relative was genetically close However: There was less delineation between parents, siblings, cousins, or uncles/aunts Most likely due to the differences in collective vs individual cultures. Sime (1983) Analyzed accounts of how people fled from a burring building Found that when individuals were with unrelated group

members, they were more likely to became separated When they were related, they were more likely to stay together, even if that meant slowing down Why? Simpson and Kendrick in-group bias Attitudes, opinions, and behaviors accompany an instinctive desire to help those who share the same genes Burnstein et al (1994) Asked participants to report how likely they

were to help people of varying degrees of relatedness in situations ranging from rescuing them from a burning house to basic favors like picking up a dropped book. Example: grandmother, first cousin, unrelated acquaintance Findings: The participants were more likely to help closer relatives, and this effect became more extreme as the possible cost to the

participant increased. Reciprocal Altruism Theory Trivers (1971) Attempts to explain altruism between people who are not related It may benefit an animal to behave altruistically if there is an expectation that the favor will be returned in the future you scratch my back, Ill scratch

yours Mutual cooperation where both will increase their chances of survival Axelrod and Hamilton (1981) The Prisoners Dilemma Tested reciprocal altruism on humans http://sometimesjustisenough.wordpress.com/tag/axelrod-andhamilton/

The Prisoners Dilemma Two suspects worked together to commit a crime They are interviewed in different rooms Two options Stay quiet Rat one another out Results of options

Both stay quiet both get 1 year in jail Both confess both get 20 years in jail 1 Confesses: Confessor will get Parole, the other gets Life Findings When 1 prisoner thinks the other is staying quiet, they also will stay quiet Reciprocal altruism!

However, when it is not in their best interest, and they think the other is about to roll on them, they will give their friend up Conclusion: Reciprocal altruism only occurs when it is in the best interest of the person committing the deed.

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