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Prosocial Behavior/Diffusion of responsibility

What is prosocial behavior? In what three conditions can diffusion of responsibility occur and why; explain the steps of prosocial behavior and the significance of each step.

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What is prosocial behavior?

(1) In what three conditions can diffusion of responsibility occur and why; explain the steps of pro-social behavior and the significance of each step.

Diffusion of responsibility indicates that a person is less likely to take responsibility for an action while others are present. For instance, an individual may be willing or unwilling to intervene or assist someone in need in the presence of other individuals. "The major assumption underlying the diffusion of responsibility hypothesis is that group members involved in acts with negative consequences should attribute less responsibility to themselves than either individual or groups with negative consequences, or groups of individuals who experience positive consequences" (Mynatt, Sherman, 1975, p. 1111). According to Baron, Byrne and Branscombe (2006), individuals operate under the assumption that other people will intervene, and thus they elect to not intervene.

Studies show that diffusion of responsibility accounts for results in bystander hypothesis studies. As Baron et al. explain, the bystander effect occurs when the number of persons willing to help decreases with the number of people present. Darley and Latane (1968) assert that in the presence of others, bystanders reduce the individual feelings of personal responsibility and lower the speed of reporting an incident. Thus, in prosocial situations an individual's willingness to intervene or assist someone in need is inhibited by the presence of other people. The individual is under the belief that other people present will or should intervene, and does not perceive it as his or her responsibility to take action. In addition, diffusion of responsibility is more likely to occur under conditions of anonymity (Darley & Latane, 1968). Moreover, according to Darley and Latane, in prosocial situations, individuals are less likely to intervene when they do not know the victim personally.

*Some conditions under which diffusion of responsibility may occur include:

Diffusion of responsibility might occur through intervention or non-intervention when a group of people allow events to occur which they would not normally allow due to the influence of groupthink (when the views of the group is adopted).

When groups lose motivation, and feel less responsible for ...

Solution Summary

This solution defines prosocial behavior and conditions in which diffusion of responsibility occur.

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