Anatomy of an Altruist: Influences on Willingness to Help

Ruthanne Shackelford Huntington University, Haley Graham Huntington University, Alyssa Kochel Huntington University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Rebekah Benjamin Huntington University
Some say that they would help someone in need without question—but would they really? There are three factors that go into helping behaviors: defining traits of the potential helper (Gleichgerrcht & Decety, 2013), empathic concern (Nario-Redmons, Gospodinov, & Cobb, 2017), and type of situation (Goyal, Wice, Kinsboourne, & Castano, 2017). This study will elaborate upon past research over the topic of empathetic concern; more specifically, in which helping situations it is increased and how certain people exhibit higher levels of empathetic concern than others. By combining elements from the previous studies’ findings, this study builds on previous work by recreating and instituting methods instituted in the past to determine if the key influential factors will positively correlate with willingness to help. Participants in this study will be randomly assigned to answer one of two surveys. The first group will read a scenario of a person in need and will subsequently answer questions regarding their willingness to help and fill out an inventory (the Interpersonal Reactivity Index). The second group will undergo the same process, though they will also be subject to an image of the person in need. The two groups will be analyzed using a between-subjects design. It is hypothesized that (i) women will have have higher levels of empathic concern and willingness to help compared to men; (ii) those who score higher on empathic concern will also score higher on the anxiety scale; (iii) those who experience the visual scenario will score higher on both inventories than the other group.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

01:30 PM
Gallahue Hall 102