Chapter 14: When do people help? (pp. 518–524)
- What are the crucial factors leading you to help others?
- When is helping up to you, and when is it not?
In this topic
Is Help Needed and Deserved? (pp. 519–521)
- Noticing need
- Judging deservingness
Should I Help? (pp. 521–524)
- Is helping up to me? Diffusion of responsibility
- When norms make helping appropriate
- When norms make helping inappropriate
Is Help Needed and Deserved?
To become aware of the need for help, you should be able to notice it. Busy and noisy surroundings make this noticing more difficult.
A happy mood leads to a more social perspective, so that the need for help is noticed more easily.
Audience inhibition: To avoid appearing foolish, we avoid helping behavior in front of an audience.
The unresponsiveness of others influences our helping behavior. If others fail to react, we are not likely to help.
There are various norms that dictate the deservingness of your help:
- Norm of social responsibility: Those who are able to take care of themselves have a duty and obligation to assist those who cannot.
- Helping others who have less than we have.
- Norms in close relationships or cohesive groups.
Controllability: If someone is in need due to an uncontrollable cause, we are more motivated to help.
Should I Help?
Is helping up to me? Diffusion of responsibility
The more other people there are to help, the less responsible we feel to help, and the smaller the chance that we actually help.
When norms make helping appropriate
People who hold leadership responsibility, or are the ones who should help, serve as a model or example, implicitly defining the norm for helping behavior.
Mentioning the (amount of) help of other people facilitates people's prosocial behavior.
Strong norms of concern for others, taught by parents or religion, lead to more prosocial behavior.
When norms make helping inappropriate
There are norms that prescribe not to help:
- Norm of family privacy: You don't intervene in a familiar/marital problem. The wife could feel embarrassed and the husband could become aggressive towards the helper.
- Norm of "mind your own business."
So what does this mean?
To be able to help, you should notice the need for help. After noticing, you have to decide whether the potential helpee deserves your help. The decision to help depends on the presence and actions of others: The more others there are, the less likely you are to help. Social and personal norms also play a role in helping. Another factor in helping is the (in)appropriateness of your help: You don't interfere in marital problems.