Altruism in Today’s World - Critical Thinking Exercise
Humans are capable of displaying many behaviors in the different situations they find themselves or see others in. In society, many people have come across situations where help is needed, and proceed to help, even if they do not know who the other person is. This is pro-social behavior – any behavior with the intention of helping or benefitting others. A subgroup of pro-social behavior is altruism, which is helping others with some sort of risk to yourself (such as time, or getting hurt) and not seeking personal gains or rewards (Carter and Grivas, 2005). There is no definite purpose of altruism, but evolutionists theorize that it relates to helping others to preserve our genes.
However, altruism doesn’t just occur spontaneously; the action of helping others without any self-benefit only takes place under certain circumstances. The cost-benefit analysis is when the helper considers the cost (such as their own personal health or time) and benefit (feeling good about themself for helping people) of doing and not doing the behavior. They will usually be more likely to proceed with the behavior when the benefit outweighs the cost. Another factor affecting helping behavior could be personal influences such as feelings and mood. If the person feels guilty for not doing something, they will most likely do whatever it takes to be able to restore a positive view from others and reduce our own personal guilt. When someone is in a happy mood, they are more likely to help others to retain that good feeling of what helping others can do, regardless of what made them happy. Most importantly, situational factors such as interpreting and noticing the situation as one that needs help then taking responsibility for helping play a significant role in altruistic behavior.
Sometimes, pro-social and altruistic behavior get confused between. While both are intentional and voluntary, there is one major...