alexa Agreeableness, empathy, and helping: A person X situation perspective
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

Author(s): Graziano WG, Habashi MM, Sheese BE, Tobin RM

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This research program explored links among prosocial motives, empathy, and helping behavior. Preliminary work found significant relations among components of self-reported empathy and personality (N = 223). In Study 1, the authors examined the generality of prosocial behavior across situations and group memberships of victims (N = 622). In Study 2, empathic focus and the victim's outgroup status were experimentally manipulated (N = 87). Study 3 (N = 245) replicated and extended Study 2 by collecting measures of prosocial emotions before helping. In Study 4 (N = 244), empathic focus and cost of helping as predictors of helping behavior were experimentally manipulated. Overall, prosocial motivation is linked to (a) Agreeableness as a dimension of personality, (b) proximal prosocial cognition and motives, and (c) helping behavior across a range of situations and victims. In persons low in prosocial motivation, when costs of helping are high, efforts to induce empathy situationally can undermine prosocial behavior.

This article was published in J Pers Soc Psychol and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

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