new as of January 1, 2012
Food banks - Looking to donate some food or volunteer hours at a food bank? You can locate a food bank near you at this Feeding America site. Other resources and opportunities available as well. [added 4/18/09]
Give a "good card" - Here's another good idea for a last minute gift. Pick an amount, purchase the good card in that amount, give it to someone, and that person can then donate that amount to the charity of his or her choice. It is tax deductible for the buyer. [added 4/18/09]
Improve your vocabulary and donate rice! - Another site at which you can make donations (of rice, in this case) while playing a game. Fun learning tool for your students. Okay, you can play, too. [added 4/13/08]
ModestNeeds.org - Here's another one -- a site where you can "change the life
of a low-income family by clicking 'Learn More or Invest Points'
and authorizing Modest Needs to make the grant of your choice. If
you do, we'll fund that application instantly." [added
helping website - Idealist.org is another of the type of sites
where visitors can combine with others to solve different problems
around the world. [10/13/07]
opportunities through web site - I pointed you to another web
site below (Donors Choose) in which individuals could review requests
from teachers and choose to donate to one or more of those classrooms.
This web site allows potential donors to lend money to "a specific
entrepreneur in the developing world, empowering them to lift themselves
out of poverty." [added 8/05/07]
Choose - An innovative project in which classroom teachers,
primarily in high-need schools, submit proposals for projects that
need funding. Potential donors can visit the website to choose to
which project(s) to help fund. Also watch the video from the story.
circles - "Giving circles come in many different forms,
but usually involve a group of friends who pool their charitable
donations and decide together how to use the money to benefit the
causes they care most about." [added 7/16/07]
- Reciprocal altruism? Well, not quite. This interesting philanthropy
site invites you to create "givelists" of organizations
to which you want to donate. You can also donate to the organizations
on others' givelists, and they, in return, can donate to organizations
on your list. What goes around... [added 12/31/06]
- Charity Navigator is a site that collects and rates more than
5000 charities. Charities can be searched alphabetically, by category,
by region and by ratings. Site also includes a collection of related
articles. [added 12/22/06]
The Explore website - Explore
is a website that "champions the selfless acts of others."
The site includes video examples, lesson plans, and other resources.
foreign aid projects - interesting story about individuals developing
their own ideas for helping others abroad [added
Charter for Compassion - "The Charter for Compassion is a cooperative effort to restore not only compassionate thinking but compassionate action to the center of our lives." The site includes many acts of compassion shared by citizens from around the world. [added 10/16/10]
acts of kindness - The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is
promoting.... yes, random acts of kindness. At this site you can
see lots of grassroots efforts to do so, as well as other resources,
particularly for the K-12 school or classroom. [added
save a life: Stories of Holocaust rescue" [added
- Need examples of "heroism"? The stated purpose of
this site "is to use the power of the Internet and existing
media to bring diverse, international voices to the world to explore
the idea that people are good, that individuals and individual
action matter, and that regularly showing examples of people being
good to each other will inspire similar actions in others."
A few examples are provided at the site. More can be obtained
by subscribing to HeroicStories sent to you for free via e-mail.
- at this Carnegie Hero Fund Commission site find thousands of
biographies of "extraordinary" heroes and links to a
few other similar sites
Assignment Idea from
Nora Murphy using the Carnegie Hero website [added
When We Help
"Loving" increases donations - "French researchers say that adding the text 'donating=loving' to a charitable collection box almost doubled the amount of money they raised." What if you put "donating=giving money" on the box? Or, "donating=enabling dependency of no-good, lazy people"? Or, "help adopt a penguin!" So many possible follow-up studies your students could conduct. Or, you could have them justify a variation/hypothesis based on previous research. [added 1/29/12]
What's the best way to beg for money? - Here's an interesting field study in which a student dressed as a panhandler (how do they dress?) tested the following: "When people walked by, Daniel would either be sitting down (the passive approach) or standing up (the active approach) and he would either look them in the eyes or not. So there were times when he was 1) sitting down and looking people in the eyes, 2) sitting down and not looking people in the eyes, 3) standing up and looking people in the eyes, or 4) standing up and not looking people in the eyes." Read to find out what he found, I beg of you. [added 1/29/12]
people are sweet! - Oh good, another excuse to eat chocolate!
Thank you, Brian Meier. "Brian Meier and his team had dozens
of students rate the agreeableness, extraversion and neuroticism
of 100 people, based on pictures of their faces and a strap-line
identifying each person's preference for a particular food, such
as 'I like grapefruit.' People who said they liked a sweet food
were judged by the students as more agreeable, suggesting that we
implicitly recognise that a taste for sweet things is grounded in
a sweet personality. Are people right to make this implicit assumption?
Further studies suggested so. Students who rated their own personality
as more agreeable also tended to have a stronger preference (than
their less agreeable peers) for sweet foods and drinks. Among a
different set of students, a stronger preference for sweet foods
correlated positively with their willingness to volunteer their
time, unpaid, for a separate unrelated study - considered by the
researchers as a sign of prosocial behaviour." [added
willing to help victims of natural than man-made disasters -
Women and children first? Not if I'm in a hurry - "Records from two nearly 100-year-old shipwrecks, the Titanic and the Lusitania, have given researchers new insight into human selfishness — and altruism. On one boat, it seems, the men thought only of themselves; on the other, they were more likely to help women and children. This occurred for one key reason, researchers said: time. The Lusitania sank in about 18 minutes, while the Titanic took nearly three hours. Women and children fared much better on the Titanic." [added 7/15/10]
and Benefits of Helping
Reciprocal altruism in infants? - "We are usually eager to assist people who have helped us in the past. These reciprocal relationships are an important part of adult interactions and foster cooperation in society. New findings, reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggest that this reciprocal behavior may have early beginnings and can be demonstrated in children as young as 21-months-old." Am I allowed to call 21-month-olds infants? My rule of thumb: If a baby can point to another baby and call it a baby, it is no longer a baby. [added 7/15/10]
and its social importance" - Fascinating research that
relates one's humanity-esteem ("Overall, how favourable are
you toward human beings in general?") and your likelihood to
differentiate between groups, feel others are trustworthy, and more.
Here's a couple scales that we are going to see a lot more of in
the literature. [added
"The moral instinct" - Interesting essay from Steven Pinker asking the question who "is the most admirable -- Mother Teresa, Bill Gates, or Norman Borlaug?" [added 4/7/08]
and volunteering - This report from the Penn School of Social
of Social Policy and Practice discusses how social anxiety may inhibit
those who would like to volunteer from stepping forward to do so.
volunteer? - a research report entitled "Why volunteer?
Evidence on the role of altruism, reputation, and incentives"
prosocial values - "Like mother like son? Experimental
evidence on the transmission of values from parents to children"
finds "no significant correlation between the degree of cooperation
of a child and that of his or her parents." [added
Cooperation evolved from competition?
- an article describing research suggesting that altruism may have
arisen from its superiority over selfishness when competing for
resources with other groups [added 12/31/06]
"The 'haves' show less empathy than 'have-nots'" [added 1/29/12]
The study of smiling - very interesting story in the APS Observer on the many facets of smiling research and what it all means [added 12/22/10]
Empathy and violence have similar circuits in the brain - Gives new meaning to a love/hate relationship. [added 10/16/10]
Doctors are desensitized to your pain! - I knew it. And when we find research suggesting that they enjoy it, all my fears will be confirmed! Just kidding, doc. [added 7/15/10]
Differences in empathy or us-vs-them mentality - interesting essay on how broadly we extend our empathy to "others" - here's another on the same topic [added 3/7/10]
people remember your smell" - "Forty-four female university
students were twice tasked with smelling three t-shirts and picking
out the one that belonged to their room-mate. The t-shirts had been
carefully prepared - worn overnight for an average of eight hours,
after the owner had used scent-free toiletries for the previous
two days. Based on their performance, the students were arranged
in three groups: 21 of them failed both times to pick out the correct
t-shirt; 10 of them picked the correct t-shirt once; and 13 of them
picked the correct t-shirt both times. The key finding was that
the students who both times identified their room-mate's t-shirt
by its smell also tended to excel at a test of identifying facial
emotional expressions, and at a test of empathy in which they had
to say how someone would feel in a range of different situations."
What if you can smell your roommate's t-shirt from 20 yards away?
another's physical versus social pain - "Witnessing another
person's physical pain registers more quickly in the brain than
compassion for social or psychological pain, but the latter leaves
a much longer-lasting impression." [added
and Oxytocin - more research "connecting oxytocin to trust
and generosity" [added 12/16/07]
of mind or curse of knowledge? - This blog provides a good account
of some really interesting research. How could adults think THAT?
Well, I do every time I watch TV and wonder why one character can't
figure out what's coming next since I know. [added
and empathy in America - interesting analysis of survey results
from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago
"Chimpanzees not as selfish as we thought" -My chimp often lets me take the last slice of pizza. [added 1/29/12]
"Why people are twice as likely to assist as you think" - A blog entry describing some research on how we underestimate how likely we are to receive help when we ask for it. [added 12/14/08]
of a small circle of friends" - Lyrics from the song "Outside
of a small circle of friends" by Phil Ochs describing a reluctance
to help, including a verse based on the Kitty Genovese case [10/13/07]
share altruistic capacity with people" - [10/13/07]
people volunteering - "Volunteering has reached a 30-year
high in the United States, as more people pitch in to help their communities,
according to a study released today by the Corporation for National
and Community Service." [added 12/31/06]
dog fills out hospital paperwork" - very amusing piece from
the satirical online newspaper The Onion [added
in the United States, 2010" - a report from the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics [added 1/15/06]
among the baboons - interesting article of possible cultural transmission
of female baboons' attempt to induce more cooperation from male baboons
the case of Kitty Genovese - You have probably heard of Kitty
Genovese. How about Kew Gardens? That is the name of the community
in New York where the tragic murder of Kitty Genovese took place in
1964. A long-time resident provides a pictorial history of Kew Gardens.
Of particular interest is his review of the case of Kitty Genovese.
He includes the original New York Times article reporting about the
murder. He then attempts to carefully separate fact from fiction presented
in the article and elsewhere about the case. [added
Bystander Effect? The following text and sites come from The
US and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994
to Genocide" -- from The Atlantic
The National Security Archive last month (August, 2001) posted sixteen
declassified documents relating to the US response to 1994's genocide
in Rwanda. The documents reveal that the United States planned from
the beginning not to get involved until peace was restored, that the
US tried to persuade the UN to withdraw all forces in Rwanda in April
of 1994, and that US officials knew who was responsible for the killings
and even spoke with leaders to try to stop further violence. These
cables, memorandums, and papers are chilling in the light of the nearly
one million dead. The latest issue of The Atlantic features an article
by Samantha Power which uses the declassified documents along with
interviews with those involved to deliver a "narrative of self-serving
caution and flaccid will."
Evolution of Reciprocal Sharing"
- article published in Ethology Sociobiology, 5: 5-14, 1984. Jim Moore.
- not a validated instrument, but it still contains a number of interesting
scenarios that can serve as classroom examples, activities or assignments
- Update: This test/survey site has now gone commercial - so,
you will have to pay to view take/view the egoism/altruism test [04/09/02]
for the Teaching of Social Psychology is a part of the CROW Project,
Course Resources on the Web. CROW was initially sponsored by the Associated
Colleges of Illinois and generously supported by UPS. This site
was created by Jon Mueller, Professor of Psychology at North Central
College, Naperville, IL. Send comments to Jon.