‘Using social psychology theories, discuss the situational factors that affect the likelihood that people will engage in prosocial behaviour. What is the evidence for these effects, and how might changes in our society affect the likelihood of people acting prosocially?
According to Gross (2010) the term prosocial behaviour is used to describe behaviours carried out by individuals intended to benefit others, such as helping, cooperating, comforting, reassuring, defending, sharing, donating to charity and showing concern. Whether one displays prosocial behaviour can, to a certain degree, be dependent on several situational factors as explained in social psychology. These factors typically include the individual’s analysis of the
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According to Benabou and Tirole (2006) as the number of bystanders increases, the probability that they will help lessens and the amount of time that passes before help is offered increases. There are two major factors that contribute to the bystander effect. To begin with, the presence of other onlookers creates a diffusion of responsibility (Schwartz, S., Zamboanga, B., Wang, W., & Olthuis, J. 2009). Individuals tend to feel less pressure in the presence of other observers since the responsibility and obligation to take action is believed to be shared among all of those present (Schwartz et al., 2009). According to Benabou and Tirole (2006), the second reason is related to the innate need to behave in ways that are socially acceptable. Individuals often interpret the fact that because others are failing to act on the situation as a signal that a response is not required or appropriate. Perhaps the most well known example of the bystander effect is the murder of a young woman named Catherine ‘Kitty’ Genovese. According to Aronson, Wilson and Akert (2006), in the mid 1960s, Genovese was brutally attacked by a man