Self-Compassion And Empathy In Evolutionary Psychology

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Human beings are selfish, selfless, empathetic, and apathetic. Humans are capable of committing the most violent crimes, ignoring desperate pleas, but they’re also capable of helping and saving strangers in life-threatening situations. The motivation and reasons for helping others can be argued from multiple perspectives. Evolutionary psychology posits people help due to kin selection and due to the norm of reciprocity, social exchange theory argues that people help to maximize social rewards and minimize social costs, whereas according the empathy-altruism hypothesis, when people feel empathetic towards another, they will help because of altruistic reasons (Arsonson, Wilson, Fehr, & Akert, 2017). Prosocial behaviour is an important topic because …show more content…

Empathy was measured through the emotional response of the participant, and prosocial intentions through intention of aiding another person without inferring whether the participants helped based on selfish reasons or altruistic motivation. Welp and Brown (2014) predicted greater self-compassion would predict greater empathy and a greater willingness to help someone in need. Participants were assessed using the Self-Compassion Scale, and then exposed to one of four variations of a story about a man who had a flat tire and was stranded. The stories differed in describing his race, and whether he was at fault, resulting in four conditions. The results did not fully support the hypothesis, it was found that self-compassion predicted greater willingness to help the stranded man while simultaneously reducing empathy for him despite his racial …show more content…

This experiment would take place over the course of a week, and would be conducted at 8:15 a.m., 12:15 pm, and 4:15 p.m. to allow for more generalizable results. A female confederate would be sitting at a community table at the West Mall Starbucks, and would appear to be studying. The female confederate would either be wearing a SFU hoodie and have a SFU backpack, as well as a SFU notebook and pen, or they would be wearing descriptive clothing, backpack, and accessories. The female confederate would “accidentally” spill water over their notes, while two observers would watch whether anyone helped. Helping behaviour would be measured through the number of people who get napkins for the female confederate or use napkins to help dry out the pages. Helping intentions will also be measured by the observers recording the amount of people who looked at the confederate for three or more seconds following the water spill, but did not help. I predict that people will be more likely to help the confederate when she is wearing SFU clothing and accessories because they will identify with the confederate as a student and feel empathetic towards her because they could imagine themselves in her shoes, and therefore will feel the need to help the confederate. The participants who help the confederate would afterwards be approached by one of the observers who would ask why they helped the confederate and

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