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Altruism, Generosity and Helping Behavior

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Barb Bloom

on 21 May 2014

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Transcript of Altruism, Generosity and Helping Behavior

Identify how to leverage volunteers
Identify the elements of volunteer management
Why Practice
Promotes Social Connectedness
Positive Effects in Education
Increases Generosity
Enhances Relationships
Presented by
Sharon Greenstein
Meridith Herman
Barb Bloom
Helping Other has Widespread Health Benefits
Clinical Applications
Thank you!
Altruism, Generosity and Helping Behavior
What is Altruism?
It is the promotion of someone else’s welfare, even at a risk to ourselves

People's first impulse is to cooperate
Helping and cooperation are human nature as they promote the survival of our species
"When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die."

Eleanor Roosevelt

"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."

Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I wondered why somebody didn't do something. Then I realized, I am somebody."

Reduced atherosclerosis
Reduced angina
Lower blood pressure
Fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, and somatization
Better mental health
Fewer major illnesses
Lower rate of death in older volunteers and
Longer survival rates in AIDS patients

how to keep Baby Boomers involved in meaningful service
prescribing altruism for public health
educating kids and teens about the link between volunteering and depression
Some Directions for
Future Research
Career Growth
Evidence empathy mechanism underlying altruism
Not inherently other-oriented
Empathy-induced altruism may not always result in prosocial effects
Evidence empathy can be increased through mindfulness

Theoretical Implications:
Shifting how we view motivation from universal egoism to altruism changes our assumptions about human nature

Practical Implications:
Loss of capacity to fee empathy for clients and patients may be a factor in helping professions

Empathy-induced altruism may not always result in prosocial effects
(Batson, 2009)

Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis
Theoretical & Clinical Applications
Helping others lights up the same part of the brain as receiving rewards or experienceing pleasure.
"Helper's High"
“Empathy is considered an essential aspect of mental health and a fundamental part of human relationships.”

- Shauna Shapiro, Ph.D. (2009)
Fun vs. Philanthropy Exercise
p. 34 Peterson text

Release vs. Holding On Exercise
p. 169 Salzberg text

As little as 2 hours per week of altruistic service helpes reduce symptoms of depression

How else could you use altruism with a client?
Prosocial Behavior & Helping
Prior research- most people under the right mindset and in conditions that call for heroic action

Civilian fire rescue 96% heroic compared to a soldier laying down his life to allow others to escape 88% heroic.

10 forms of social heroism determined, only 3 were "altruistic":
religious figures,
scientific or discovery figures, and
odds beaters

Physical risk seen as more heroic than social risk

97.5% of participants felt there was a difference between heroism and altruism
Prosocial behavior: Voluntary actions undertaken to benefit others, such as donating, comforting, and helping
Helping benefits another, no matter the intended goal
: Motivational state with the goal of increasing one's own welfare
: Motivational state with the goal of increasing another person's welfare
Compassion Training
Determine whether compassion, a motivator for altruistic behavior, can be cultivated through training

Increased altruistic behavior and changes in neural responses
Compassion Training Alters Altruism and Neural Responses to Suffering
(Weng, et al., 2013)
Shifting how we view motivation from universal egoism to altruism changes our assumptions about human nature
Loss of capacity to feel empathy for clients and patients a factor in helping professions
Use of compassion training with practioners may increase empathic response
Universal egoism
: Belief that all helping is for self-benefit
That empathic concern produces altruistic motivation
Why do humans help each other?
Is all helping motivated by self-interest?
Significant empirical support for hypothesis that empathic concern motivates helping
- Batson
Other-oriented emotional reaction to seeing another person in need
Clinical Applications
Value of required community service?

Is giving still altruistic if the receiver does not want or appreciate your help?
Heroism: A Conceptual Analysis and Differentiation Between Heroic Action and Altruism
Full transcript