Similarities and Helping Behavior: An Exploration of the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis

Susie Winternheimer Hanover College, Haley Alexander Hanover College
Faculty Sponsor(s): Stephen Dine Young Hanover College
Previous research has demonstrated that there are many variables that effect whether a person is likely to engage in helping behavior such as whether the person expects to receive help themselves or whether they are likely to be perceived as generous by others. The present study analyzes another variable that has not been studied as much—whether or not the person in need of help is similar to the helper. This study will utilize an online questionnaire that will be distributed via e-mail. Each participant will be asked to answer questions regarding their willingness to help the main character in a situation where they are in obvious need of help. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of four scenarios in which the gender and age (college intern vs. professional office worker) of the character in need of help is varied. The researchers expect to find that the more similar a participant is to the person in need of help, the more willing the participant will be to help that person in the hypothetical scenario. It is hoped that this study contributes to the understanding of altruistic behavior and will help increase such behavior in the future.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

01:45 PM
Gallahue Hall 102