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Self-focus, felt responsibility, and helping behavior

Self-focus, felt responsibility, and helping behavior Two experiments, each with 55 female undergraduates, investigated whether juxtaposing self-focus and salient distressed others would (a) increase self-attribution of responsibility for those needy others and (b) increase willingness to help those others. In Exp I, Ss were exposed to their images on a TV screen 4 min before, immediately before, immediately after, or 4 min after seeing a videotape of victims of a venereal disease epidemic. As predicted, Ss who saw their images immediately before or after felt more responsibility for and were more willing to help the victims than were Ss in other conditions. In Exp II, Ss filled out a biographical questionnaire either 4 min before or immediately before seeing a videotape on poverty-stricken Latin Americans. Results confirm predictions. Ss who filled out the questionnaire immediately before the videotape felt more responsibility toward the distressed group than Ss who completed the questionnaire 4 min prior to the tape. Additional evidence indicates that this effect is probably not mediated by the sole operation of the self-evaluative mechanism posited by S. Duval and R. Wicklund (1972) or by change in attitudes regarding the distress of and/or necessity of helping distressed others. (25 ref) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Personality and Social Psychology American Psychological Association

Self-focus, felt responsibility, and helping behavior

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1979 American Psychological Association
ISSN
0022-3514
eISSN
1939-1315
DOI
10.1037/0022-3514.37.10.1769
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Two experiments, each with 55 female undergraduates, investigated whether juxtaposing self-focus and salient distressed others would (a) increase self-attribution of responsibility for those needy others and (b) increase willingness to help those others. In Exp I, Ss were exposed to their images on a TV screen 4 min before, immediately before, immediately after, or 4 min after seeing a videotape of victims of a venereal disease epidemic. As predicted, Ss who saw their images immediately before or after felt more responsibility for and were more willing to help the victims than were Ss in other conditions. In Exp II, Ss filled out a biographical questionnaire either 4 min before or immediately before seeing a videotape on poverty-stricken Latin Americans. Results confirm predictions. Ss who filled out the questionnaire immediately before the videotape felt more responsibility toward the distressed group than Ss who completed the questionnaire 4 min prior to the tape. Additional evidence indicates that this effect is probably not mediated by the sole operation of the self-evaluative mechanism posited by S. Duval and R. Wicklund (1972) or by change in attitudes regarding the distress of and/or necessity of helping distressed others. (25 ref)

Journal

Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Oct 1, 1979

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