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DIMENSIONS OF PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR

DIMENSIONS OF PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR
Елена Давидеску, старший преподаватель

Педагогический университет Молдовы им. Иона Крянгэ, Молдова

Участник конференции

In the day by day life most of us spend a lot of time and effort in order to help our peers. By various actions like: offering some information to a person, working as a team member, being close to a person that is in grief, donating goods or money in charitable meanings, we demonstrate solidarity to our peers.

Keywords: prosocial behavior, altruism, philanthropy, cooperation, positive action.

Со дня в день, в жизни большинство из нас тратят много времени и усилий для того, чтобы помочь нашим сверстникам. По различным действиям, такие как: предлагать некоторую информацию о человеке, работать в качестве члена команды, чтобы быть ближе к тому, который находится в затруднении, жертвуя товары или деньги в благотворительных целях, мы демонстрируем солидарность нашим коллегам.

Ключевые слова: просоциальное поведение, альтруизм, филантропия, сотрудничество, позитивные действия.

 

Inspite of different cultural models that promote individualism, I consider that making and developing the prosocial behavior of pupils is a current issue due to the fact that our society needs positive samples and one of them is caring and helping the others.

In our attempt to offer a rigorous theoretical frame for the prosocial behavior we confronted the problem of defining more precisely the term so that in the theoretical international works appear at least four terms being closed to what the prosocial behavior represents, and namely: mutual help, cooperation, altruism and prosociability. In some works these terms are used as synonyms for the prosocial behavior while in other works the same terms refer to different or complementary realities [3].

Today both the altruistic behavior as well as the prosocial one is the two terms that are most frequently used in the specialty work, however the tendency to use the prosocial term becomes quite strong. In some theoretical works the term of prosocial behavior was overlapped with the altruistic one. In conclusion we can say that when we refer to altruism in fact we refer to “the behavior in the benefit of the other without any external reward” ” (Macaulay şi Berkowitz 1970), being „against personal interest” (Moscovici, 1994, 1998, Chelcea, S., 2004). Other authors (Knickerbocker, Roberta L., 2002) postulate the fact that when we refer to the prosocial behavior in fact we refer to an activity model while altruism is the motivation to help others trough pure consideration to their needs.  

There does not exist a unanimous accepted definition. In place of “prosocial behavior” there are proffered terms like “altruism” (Albrecht, Thomas and Chadwick), „AIDS behavior” (Doivido, Raven şi Rubin, Saks şi Krupat), „positive action” (Gergen, Jutras).

The researches made up to these days paid less attention to the personality and behavior of those who call for help.  I cannot say we can speak about a special type of personality, however the day by day observations point to a group of people that a more liable to call for help while members of the other group thrive to solve their problems by themselves.

The aids behavior is a voluntary act made for the purpose of other person.

  • - the behavioral acts to be made voluntarily;
  • - these act should be for the interest of other person;
  • - no reward should be expected.

However, our attempt to delineate precisely the dimensions of the prosocial behavior is limited by some difficulties related to the identifying of the motivation of person involved in aids activities of his peers. The moment we identify the nature of this motivation, we will be able to delimitate the nature of the prosocial behavior and altruism.

The altruistic behaviors represent a subcategory of the aids behaviors and refer to motivated acts of desire to make good someone, without waiting any personal rewards. Also it is important to mention that while receiving aids some persons are more likely to thank the beneficial while the others do not manifest at least verbally the gratitude. In this sense Michael McCullough and his assistants (2002) speak about the “dispositional gratitude” as a constant of the personality [3].

In the psychological approach of the prosocial behavior considered by Septimiu Chelcea to be a quite recent process, there are reflections back from Antiquity. The stoic philosopher Seneca considered that we due gratitude to the person that helped us even if the bad thing he made us afterwards is much bigger.  In the work “De beneficii” he wrote “the reward for a good deed is for the intention of doing it” or “I am grateful not for it is helpful for me but for I am pleased to be grateful” [1].

In one of the first published works about the prosocial behavior, Mussen and Eisenberg, (1977) postulate that it refers to the actions oriented to help the others or for the benefit of others without any reward for the doer. These repeated actions of the organizer involve some costs, self sacrifice and even assuming certain risks. In some ways Baum, Fisher, Singer understand through prosocial behaviors those actions that could have positive consequences for others without anticipating any reward.

In order to speak about a prosocial behavior there should be fulfilled at least two conditions:

  • 1.      Intention to give help to other persons
  • 2.      The freedom of behavioral choice (Hans Werner Bierhoff, 1980).

Other researchers consider compulsory three conditions:

  • 1.      Intention to help,
  • 2.      The behavioral act to be voluntary
  • 3.      The person who does the behavioral act should not expect any external reward (V.J. Derloga, J. Grazelak, 1982).

Steps in the psychological researches of the prosocial behavior:

  • 1.      In the middle 60’s – the researches concentrated on the norms of responsibility and reciprocity.
  • 2.      At the beginning of the eight’s decades the researches oriented towards the appearing of the spectator and the facts that inhibit the aids behavior.
  • 3.      In the ninth decade was researched when and why people give help.
  • 4.      After 1990 the researches concentrated in the direction of clarifying the motivation of the prosocial behavior.

Janusy Reykowskidefines the prosocial behavior through “guidance, help, support; developing of the other persons without expecting any reward”. Or, other authors, „ action that does not bring benefit except to the one that receives help” [4].

Septimiu Chelceadefines the prosocial behavior as being the on purpose behavior done within no working hours and oriented to the support, conservation and promoting of the sociable values. From these definitions we perceive the necessary and sufficient conditions for the manifestation of the prosocial behavior:

  • 1.      Intention to help other persons;
  • 2.      Freedom of choice to give help;
  • 3.      Giving help  out of professional obligations;
  • 4.      No reward expectation.

Not every behavior with positive consequences in axiological plan can be characterized as prosocial. It must be intentionally and consciously done.

Paul-Popescu Neveanudefines the prosocial behavior as process of forming your own personality according to certain samples and requirements and on the basis of some personal efforts.

Ioan Comănescuconsiders that in the wide sense the prosocial behavior represents the work with yourself in sense of auto modeling of some intellectual capacities, of some sentiments, attitudes and personality features.                          

Andrei Bârnă defines the prosocial behavior as attitude of the human being manifested with the objective to improve his own personality.

Steliana Tomaconsiders the prosocial behavior a behavior that has at its basis an objective of self engagement and making a personal effort for the benefit of others.

D. Allportin the Structure and personality development, highlights the fact that every human being is like all the others, is like others, like no other due to his behavior”.

Chedron andFleischman (2006) suggest that the prosocial behaviors are voluntary acts that are aimed to help or to contribute to the benefit of other individual or a group of individuals and include things like: sharing, comforting, rescuing, and help.

The term of prosocial behavior means positive actions for the benefit of others, determined by empathy, moral values, and rather a sentiment of personal responsibility than a desire for personal benefit. Even if between these two terms exist similarities, in order to understand the essence of the prosocial behavior some authors delineate two categories of poisitve social behaviors:

  • ·         Prosocial behaviors that bring to a mutual benefit for both the parts involved in the process;
  • ·         Prosocial behaviors that bring to the benefit of just one part.

Dispe defines the prosicial behavior as the one with positive social consequences that contributes to the physical and psychic benefit of one person.  

Eisenberg specifies that it is about committing some voluntary acts with the intention to make good to other person. The behaviors relate to this category include: altruism, helping, attraction, intervention of the passer by, charity actions, cooperation, friendship, rescue, sacrifice, sympathy and trust. It is important to mention that the determinant factor is the social perspective [5].

Starting from this classification there appears and the dichotomy regarding the altruistic and non-altruistic motivation in the prosocial behavior of one person. In this way Garaigordobii (2005) understands through the prosocial behavior the social positive behavior that is realized for the benefit of others with or without altruistic motivation. Bar - Tal (1982 sets the defining levels of the prosocial behavior and namely: intention, freedom of choice – not job obligation, done without any external reward.

In the present there was agreed about two categories of the prosocial behaviors in the literature of speciality: specific prosocial behavior and global prosocial behavior (Carlo şi Randall, 2001).

The specific prosocial behaviors refer to such behaviors that pass in a specific situation, during which it is called for help, while global prosocial behavior refer to altruistic prosocial behavior, complezent prosocial behavior, emotional prosocial behavior as well as public or socially desirable prosocial behavior.

In the existent specialty literature the majority of the researches include for the prosocial behavior actions like: offering goods to the others, helping, rejecting emphatically to the situation the others face and cooperate. (Eisenberg, Cameron, Pastemack, Tryon, 1988, Caprara şi colab., 2000; Kerr, Beck, Shattuck, Kattar, Unburu, 2003; Diener, Kim, 2004; Scourfield, Bethan, Neilson, McGuffm, 2004; Hastings, McShane, Parker, Ladha, 2007,Moraes, 2009). This last delimitation over the prosocial behavior is much more used because there were faced big difficulties in establishing the intention behalf the prosocial and specific behaviors. Not every behavior with positive consequences in the axiological plan can be characterized as being prosocial. It must be intentioned and done in a conscious way. The presence of the supporting intention of the social values is compulsory. If a person by accident stays in front of a factory’s gate and by this fact frustrates a thief to steal goods out of this economic entity, this does not mean he manifests a prosocial behavior even if the consequence is quite positive. We could speak about a prosocial behavior of the respective person if he proposed himself to prevent by his presence the theft. And this is not the only condition. That person was necessary not to be at his job place and during his working hours and he did not expect any external reward (public greetings, prizes, orders or medals etc.)

S. Chelcea appreciates some behaviors as being very easy to identify as prosocial. Other behaviors need more thorough analysis and their including in the prosocial behavior categories remains still a doubt issue. According to his opinion, similarly with the cases of the antisocial behaviors the judgment orients in the end the behavior.  

A major role in unleashing of the prosocial behaviors plays the sympathy towards the certain person. It modifies the perception of the controllability of the causal factors. Sympathy is the cause for which we give, in most of the cases help to the person that seem like us, that have similar with us personality features.

S. Chelcea remarks that there exist different modes to help in dependence of the responsibility assignation for the situation that needs the prosocial behavior or the perception regarding the responsibility to find a solution.

According to Chelcea, there were distinguished four models of giving help:

1) moralmodel (in the case of high responsibility concerning both the situation as well as finding the solution);

2) illuministmodel (the one who finds himself in critical situation is responsible for the situation he is, but he is not responsible or has a insignificant role in finding the solution to overcome the crisis);

3) compensating model (bated responsibility for the critical position in which you are, but big responsibility for solving out the problem);

4) medical model (the individual has small responsibility both for the problematic situation as well as for overcoming it).

The Romanian psycho sociologist warns us that the four models of giving help do not sum up to the individual situation. They can be applied to large collectivities even to some nations or countries.

The prosocial behavior is a learnt behavior. The exposure to the prosocial behavior increases the probability of human mutual help: the more we will promote the social values through our behavior the more we will influence stronger the others in the sense of having a prosocial behavior [6].

From the perspective of the social psychology the prosocial behavior refers to acting in the direction of the values promoted and accepted by the society. These are values that act implicitly or explicitly at the level of one group or society etc. When it refers to the behavior and especially to the prosocial behavior the social psychology refers to the altruistic behavior, aids behavior, interpersonal attraction, friendship, etc.

Aids behavior is a side of the prosocial behavior because it is defined as an intentioned act, made in the sense of other person. For the aids behavior, intention is a key element. Also the altruistic behavior is considered to be a subcategory of the prosocial behavior. Both of them refer to positive actions aimed to other social actors without any personal rewards for these deeds, in other words in the social psychology, the altruistic behavior is a side of the prosocial behavior trough which it is given help to a person expecting no reward.

The negative behaviors from the perspective of social psychology can be defined as being opposed to the prosocial ones: engaging in approbating behaviors is not agreed by the group, society, etc.

Conclusions:

1. The prosocial behavior is a learnt behavior.

2. Exposure to the prosocial behaviors increases the probability of human mutual aid: the more we will promote the social values trough our actions the more we will influence the others in the sense of having the prosocial behaviors.

3. Serge Moscovici (1994/1998) remarks that in a society based on competiveness selfishness is considered to be normal while altruism a deviant behavior. The actions made without any interest oriented for the benefit of others, for supporting any sacred ideals seem for many peers to have selfish and hided motivations.

References:

  • 1. Chelcea, Septimiu and Ţăran, Constantin. Psycosociologyof prosocial behavour. In S. Chelcea(coord.). Psycosociologyof cooperation and human help (pp.176-201).Bucureşti: Military Edition, 1990.
  • 2. Chelcea, Septimiu. Prosocial behaviour in A. Neculau (coord.). Social Psychology. Contemporary aspects(pp.438-451). Iaşi: Editura Polirom. 1996.
  • 3. Milcu M., Psychology of interpersonal relations. Competition and conflict, Iaşi, Polirom, 2005.
  • 4. Septimiu C., Psycosociology. Theories, investigations, applications, Polirom, Iaşi, 1990
  • 5. Ungureanu M., Formation of prosocial behavior, Drobeta-Turnu-Severin: IRCO Script, 2008.
  • 6. Ungureanu M., School partnership – frame of manifesting moral values, Drobeta-Turnu-Severin: IRCO Script, 2008.
Комментарии: 1

Грошев Игорь Васильевич

Представленная работа вызывает интерес к исследуемой проблеме. Действительно, в последнее время наблюдается научный интерес к просоциальному поведению, его характеристикам, объяснительной платформе и т.д. Выполненная работа раскрывает сущностные характеристики данного явления и позволяет взглянуть на проблему не только с теоретической точки зрения, но и с практической. Хочется пожелать автору дальнейших успехов!
Комментарии: 1

Грошев Игорь Васильевич

Представленная работа вызывает интерес к исследуемой проблеме. Действительно, в последнее время наблюдается научный интерес к просоциальному поведению, его характеристикам, объяснительной платформе и т.д. Выполненная работа раскрывает сущностные характеристики данного явления и позволяет взглянуть на проблему не только с теоретической точки зрения, но и с практической. Хочется пожелать автору дальнейших успехов!
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