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Predictors of Beliefs About Altruism and Willingness to Behave Altruistically
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by Allison Howard, Donna Nelson, and Merry Sleigh - Winthrop University
We tested the effect of written priming about personal experiences
of altruism on college students’ beliefs about altruism. We also examined
predictors of participants’ willingness to exhibit helping behavior in a
nonurgent situation. They generally had positive beliefs about altruism.
Priming did not significantly affect participants’ beliefs about altruism, but
did affect participants’ perceptions of the motivations underlying altruistic
behavior. Similarly, priming did not significantly influence participants’
willingness to exhibit helping behavior when participants did not expect
further personal benefits; however, participants with positive attitudes about
altruism exhibited greater willingness to help. The findings suggest that
beliefs about altruism may be stable tendencies not easily influenced by
brief interventions and also suggest that positive altruistic attitudes predict
altruistic behavior innonurgent situations.
Winter 2011 | Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research (Vol. 16, No. 4, p. 168), published by Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN). Copyright, 2011, Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology. All rights reserved.