Social psychology (psychology)/Lectures/Prosocial/Instructor notes

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Generic[edit | edit source]

Needs audio cable to show gorilla video

To do[edit | edit source]

  1. Most slides titles need names or renamed to lowercase
  2. Add:from Teall McQueen 2008 essay on Bystander Effect: Recent studies have demonstrated the effect of diffusion of responsibility on peoples’ helping behaviour in impersonal settings, such as electronic communication. In a study conducted by Blair, Thompson, and Wuensch (2005), 400 undergraduates were sent a bogus email from a new student, seeking assistance about how to access an on-line journal database. The number of other students, who participants were led to believe had also received the email was manipulated, resulting in four conditions (0, 1, 14, or 49 other recipients). Consistent with diffusion of responsibility, participants were less likely to respond to the email when they believed other people had also received the email. Similar findings were found by Barron and Yechiam (2002). In this study, an email generated more responses when it was sent to a single recipient, and responses were more detailed, compared to when it was sent to multiple recipients.
  3. Blair, C. A., Thompson, L. F., & Wuensch, K. L. (2005). Electronic helping behavior:
  4. The virtual presence of others makes a difference. Basic and Applied Social
  5. Psychology, 27, 171-178.

2008[edit | edit source]

Report[edit | edit source]

  • Altruisim – does it exist (“debate” - good)
  • I was a bit underdone in terms of reading preparation (overall) – it would be good to keep finding more references/studies to be able to refer to in more depth.
  • Overall: 6.5/10
  • Ran out of time by ~ 10-15%
  • The lecture recording failed :( - best to write up notes in more detail to accompany the lecture.
  • Include Kohlberg's stage of moral development

Done[edit | edit source]

  1. Most slide headings renamed to lowercase

To do[edit | edit source]

  1. Print out Parable of the Good Samaritan
  2. Work as prosocial behaviour? -> Volunteering
  3. Blink – Sorry
  4. Bystander effect – Indian boy begging
  5. Gorilla rescues kid video
  6. Kohlberg's stages of moral development
  7. Asch or other comformity videos

2007[edit | edit source]

Material to maybe to consider for next time

Oskar Schindler – Holocaust rescues

Research out some videos for this topic, e.g.,

  • Stanley Milgram (Youtube Search)

Teaching Tip:  The novel (and later film) Pay It Forward offers an interesting variation on the reciprocity norm.  A 12-year-old boy does favors for three individuals and, when asked how they can repay him, tells them to “pay it forward” by doing favors for three others, who then are to be instructed to pay it forward to three more recipients.  (Book:  (Film:

Teaching Tip:  The short story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin provides an interesting perspective on happiness, or lack thereof, when equality is not achieved.  (

Teaching Tip:  The play (and later film) Death of a Salesman forwards the idea that some think they are a burden on other people, that others do things for them that they cannot reciprocate; and so the others would be better off if they were dead as the main reason for the suicide of the central character, Willy Loman.

Prisoner's Dilemma

Technology Tip:  Check out the special issue of Science magazine devoted to the idea of the tragedy of the commons. (

Technology Tip:  A computer demonstration of the tragedy of the commons is available at “Tragedy of the Commons HubNet” (

Technology Tip:  Various online versions of the prisoner’s dilemma are available on the web, including the relatively simple version “You Have Found the Prisoner’s Dilemma” ( and a more complex version, “The Prisoner’s Dilemma,” (  that allows for the manipulation of variables.


Technology Tip:  An interesting article available from Science Blog, “New Scientific Study Finds Forgiveness a Factor in Decreasing Spread of AIDS.” found that AIDS victims who forgave were less likely to endanger others through risky sex practices (


Technology Tip:  The “Soup Nazi” episode of Seinfeld (Season 7) provides a humorous look at the customer’s obedience.

Technology Tip:  NPR produced a segment, “Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown,” chronicling life during the final months of Jonestown.  Details and entire audio are available online (

Food for Thought - Restaurants, Rules, and the Bad Taste of Nonconformity

In restaurants we tend to be nonconforming

People tend to order different menu items

People who order the same item, when it is their first choice, enjoy it more than those who switch to avoid conformity

  • De Ropp's Master Game
  • Sorry in Blink by Gladwell

Is Bad Stronger Than Good? #Moral and Immoral

Establishing a good reputation can be shattered by one scandal.

A good impression, established by moral behavior, can be ruined by the slightest immoral behaviour.

Very difficult to reverse an initial bad impression with subsequent good behaviours.

The Social Side of Sex #Helping, Sex, and Friends

Many people are introduced to sex partners by friends, co-workers, and relatives

Spring break sex

Men will support and help each other to engage in casual sex

Women will support and help each other to avoid casual sex

What Makes Us Human?

Humans that help individuals and society

Humans frequently exhibit prosocial behavior toward others who are not family

Rule following, obedience, and conformity are prosocial acts

Reciprocity and cooperation with strangers