The Effect of the Socially Desirable Excuse on Pro-social Behaviors Essay

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This study explored the relationship between socially desirable excuse and pro-social behaviors. Results were obtained by compiling observations of 232 male and female college students. The researcher expected results to indicate that people are more likely to display pro-social behaviors if the excuse is socially desirable. Contrary to the expectation, however, the results showed that socially desirable excuse neither catalyzes pro-social behavior nor seems to have an impact on it. In the findings of previous studies, researcher found that some opposition findings emphasized the impact of the Bystander Effect and a hypothesis that helping behavior is due to the need of pro-social behaviors in return, while some supporting findings were done before Internet was popularized or survey based.

Introduction Most college students have experienced being asked to give notes or asking someone else for notes if they missed a class. Started with asking the question that if students will be more likely to display helping behaviors (giving notes) if the callers have appropriate excuses, this study attempted to investigate the effect of excuse types on pro-social behaviors. Researcher interpreted “appropriate” as whether the excuse is socially desirable or not. Excuse types, as a crucial variable in the process of requesting for pro-social behavior, by manipulating it we might be able to get a better understanding on what triggers pro-social behavior. Extensive research has been done on many aspects of the effect of excuse types on pro-social behaviors. In Weiner’s study, May I borrow your class notes? An attributional analysis of judgments of help giving in an achievement-related context (1980) and Richard, William and Robert’s study, Effects of the perceived intentionality and stability of another's dependency on helping behavior (1979), which both showed that people with reasons for asking notes that are due to lack of ability receive more help from classmates than due to lack of efforts. Both of the studies were based on survey and questionnaire, while our study was according to observation. Other researches were designed not to only look at the impact of excuse type, study that done by Jennifer et al. (1995), The impact of cost on student helping behavior, which established that there was also a significant covariate effect between lending of notes and the number of years in the academic program. Subjects were most likely to help when they were friends with the callers, when there was frequent contact, and when there was no involvement of any competition. Prior researches show that pro-social behaviors can be triggered by various factors; the researchers in this study chose to examine if pro-social behavior is simply affected by the social desirability of the excuse types. The hypothesis is that people are more likely to send lecture notes to class members who have socially desirable excuse. Researchers expect to find that subjects offer more help to callers with good excuses than bad excuses. Martin, Jakub and Petr (2007) found that there is a positive relation between the tendency to pro-social behavior and the tendency to demand pro-social behavior. In other words, it is possible that the reason why people display pro-social behavior is that they hope to get pro-social behavior in return from others when they are in the same situation in the future. This study is not directly opposed to our study. However, it somehow conflicts with our hypothesis. The factor that causes pro-social behavior according to our hypothesis is the judgments subjects make on the excuse types – socially desirable or not. Whereas Martin et al. (2007) demonstrated that the judgments subjects make are not based on social desirability but on personal interest – they hope to be treated the same way. Indeed, according to the results, there are plenty of studies that support our hypothesis. Nevertheless, the…