The effects of perspective taking on motivations for helping: Still no evidence for altruism

Jon K. Maner, Carol L. Luce, Steven Neuberg, Robert B. Cialdini, Stephanie Brown, Brad J. Sagarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

162 Scopus citations

Abstract

To investigate the existence of true altruism, the authors assessed the link between empathic concern and helping by (a) employing an experimental perspective-taking paradigm used previously to demonstrate empathy-associated helping and (b) assessing the empathy-helpingrelationship while controlling for a range of relevant, well-measured nonaltniistic motivations. Consistent with previous research, the authors found a significant zero-order relationship between helping and empathic concern, the purported motivator of true altruism. This empathy-helping relationship disappeared, however, when nonaltniistic motivators (oneness and negative affect) were taken into account: Only the nonaltruistic factors of oneness (merged identity with the victim) and negative affect mediated helping, whereas empathic concern did not. Evidence for true altruism remains elusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1601-1610
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume28
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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