Positive Social Behavior and Morality - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780126631012, 9781483267012

Positive Social Behavior and Morality

1st Edition

Social and Personal Influences

Authors: Ervin Staub
eBook ISBN: 9781483267012
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 28th January 1978
Page Count: 506
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Positive Social Behavior and Morality: Social and Personal Influences, Volume I presents the broad range of influences that encourage or inhibit people to behave positively towards others and how varied forms of positive behavior are determined. The book examines the various aspects of positive social behavior. It starts by providing the definition, significance, and relationship of positive or prosocial behavior to morality. Topics on why people behave prosocially; the determinants of people helping other people in physical distress; effects of harm doing on prosocial behavior; the limitations of current methods; the goals for future study in the field of prosocial behavior; and a theoretical model for predicting prosocial behavior are presented as well. Psychologists, sociologists, researchers, and students in the field of sociology and psychology will find this book interesting.

Table of Contents




Chapter 1 Positive Behavior, Morality, and Human Nature

Prosocial Behavior: Definition, Significance, and Relationship to Morality

Prosocial Acts and Altruistic Motives

Morality and Human Nature

Sources of Morality

Genetic Origins of Altruism

Social Evolution in Contrast to Biological Evolution

Prosocial Behavior in Animals

Chapter 2 Personality, the Situation, and the Determination of Prosocial Behavior

Why People Behave Prosocially


Personal Values and Norms

Empathy and Identification with Other People

A Theoretical Model for Predicting Prosocial Behavior

Personal Goals and the Activating Potential of Situations

Goal Conflict and Conflict Resolution

The Measurement of Goals and Activating Potentials

Other Personality Influences on Goal Activation and Behavior

Perceptual Tendencies


A Person's State of Well-Being and the Connection between the Self and Others

Justification Processes

Supporting Research

Classes of Influences on Prosocial Behavior

Chapter 3 Determinants of People Helping Other People in Physical Distress

The Early Research of Latané and Darley

The Influence of Others

Defining the Situation, Defining the Appropriate Response, and Communicating Expectations about Appropriate Behavior

Diffusion of Responsibility and Normative Explanations of Helping Behavior

Stimulus Characteristics That Affect Helping

Variation in Ambiguity

The Degree of Need, the Cost of Helping, and the Opportunity to Escape

Spontaneous (or Impulsive) Helping

Temporary States of the Actor, Stimulus Overload, Urban-Rural Helping, and Personality

Summary of Situational Influences

Personality and Helping Others in Physical Need

Moral Reasoning and Helping Behavior

The Influence of Combinations of Personal Characteristics and of Situations

Personality and the Influence of the Number of Bystanders on Helping

The Personalities of Helpful Individuals

Chapter 4 Observing and Causing Harm to Others: Affective, Cognitive, and Behavioral Consequences

Empathy and Prosocial Behavior

Physiological Arousal in Response to Another's Suffering

The Reinforcing Effect of Reducing Another's Pain or Distress

Perceptual-Cognitive Set, Empathy, and Helping

Individual Differences That Affect Empathic Reactions

Demonstrating the Influence of Empathy on Prosocial Behavior

Empathy-Related Issues

Just World, Devaluation, and Aggression

Research on the Just-World Hypothesis

Conditions Affecting Devaluation

Devaluation and Helping Others

Harmdoing Trangression, and Their Consequences

Questions and Problems; Research and Theoretical Issues

Proposed Explanations of the Effects of Harmdoing

Comparing the Effects of Observing and of Causing Harm

Alternative Explanations

Conclusions, Issues, and Limitations of Research

Can Violence Be Constructive?

Chapter 5 Prosocial Behavior in Response to Varied Needs

Social Influence

The Effects of Exposure to Others' Deeds and Words

Research on Modeling and Verbal Communications by Models

Attributions about Models' Motives as a Determinant of Imitation

Verbal Communications That Specify Behavioral Rules

The Effects of Vicarious Reinforcement

Summary of Modeling and Verbalization Influences

Reactance and Prosocial Behavior

Verbal Requests, Reactions to Helping, Self-Attribution, and Later Positive Behavior

Changes in Self-Perception and Positive Behavior

Additional Studies of Reactions to Help Giving and Positive Behavior

Stimulus Influence

Degree of Dependence and Need

Sex Differences in Reactions to Dependence

Internal versus External Sources of Dependence

Additional Studies on How the Degree of Need and the Degree of Cost Influence Helping

The Meaning and Validity of Research

Decision Making, Personal Norms, and Helping Behavior

Schwartz's Decisional Model

Specific Norms versus General Orientations

An Additional Decision-Making Model

Individual Characteristics and Helping Behavior

Sex Differences and Helping Behavior

Morally Relevant Characteristics and Positive Behavior

The Capacity for Control, Competence, Social Desirability, and Other Nonmoral Characteristics

Issues for Future Research

Chapter 6 Orientation to the Self and Others: The Effects of Positive and Negative Experiences, Thoughts, and Feelings

The Effects of Success and Failure, Moods, and Self-Concern on Positive Behavior


Success and Failure

The Effects of Positive Experiences

The Psychological Consequences That Mediate the Effects of Positive and Negative Experiences and States

Preoccupation with the Self and Self-Concern

Sense of Potency

Benevolence to the Self and to Others: Strengthened or Weakened Bonds

Sense of Well-Being and Hedonic Balancing

Individual Differences in Sense of Well-Being, Characteristic Moods, and Levels of Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem and Prosocial Action in Everyday Interactions

Chapter 7 The Connection between Self and Others: Similarity, Attraction, and Common Group Membership

Conditions That Affect the Bond between the Self and Others

Similarity in Attitudes, Opinions, and Personalities

Prior Experience with Another Person

Common Group Membership: Race, Sex, Nationality, and Other Criteria

Shared Humanity and Orientation toward Other Human Beings

Personality and the Bond between Self and Others

Variations in the Bond between the Self and Others

Chapter 8 Exchange and Reciprocity in Positive and Negative Behavior

The Nature of Social Exchange

Reciprocity and Equity in Social Exchange

Beliefs about and Preferences for Reciprocity

Indebtedness, Help Seeking, and Reactions to Receiving Help

Reciprocity in Behavior

Generalized Reciprocity

Perceived Intent of a Benefactor (or Harmdoer) and Its Effect on Reciprocity

Conditions That Affect the Attribution of Prosocial Intention

Personality Differences in Making Attributions and in Reciprocity

Reciprocity between Friends and Transactions in Prosocial Behavior

Reciprocity in Everyday Life

Trust in Other People

Chapter 9 Cooperation and Intimate Relationships: Further Explorations in Human Transactions

Determinants of Cooperation

Inducing Cooperation and Its Consequences

The Development and Maintenance of Intimate Relationships

Relationships: Their Formation and Nature


Principles of Interaction in Extended Relationships

A Model of Interpersonal Relationships

Chapter 10 Summary and Conclusions: The Determinants of Positive Behavior

Limitations of Our Knowledge: Future Goals

How Does Positive Behavior (Or Its Absence) Come About?

Moving from Perception to Action

The Influence of Cultures


Subject Index


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© Academic Press 1978
Academic Press
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About the Author

Ervin Staub

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