Course Schedule - Psychology of Helping


March 29 Introduction

**Readings in bold are required**

Resources for Social Psychology

March 31 Why do we help? Evolutionary perspectives

The evolution of altruism in humans / Off-campus

Evolutionary perspectives on prosocial behavior

April 5 Why do we help? Evolutionary perspectives

Multilevel selection theory and major evolutionary transitions

Altruistic punishment in humans

Powering up with indirect reciprocity in a large-scale field experiment


Public caning

Multillevel selection

April 7 Why do we help? Personal and social perspectives

Intuitive prosociality

Empathy-induced altruistic motivation

The emerging study of positive empathy

Video: Empathy-induced altruism

Empathy-altruism hypothesis: Turning to experiments

Spontaneous giving and calculated greed

Video: Bus driver

April 12 Why do we help? Biological perspectives

The neuroscience of empathy

VIDEO: Mirror neurons

Oxytocin and the pharmacological dissection of affiliation - (I have substituted this article for the one below -- you might only be able to access this new article from on campus)

Social effects of oxytocin in humans: Context and person matter

Oxytocin selectively improves empathy accuracy

Tryptophan promotes charitable donating

Tryptophan promotes interpersonal trust

Video on research

Hunger games: Fluctuations in blood glucose levels...

Acetaminophen reduces empathy?

April 14

Why do we help? Developmental perspectives


Beyond good and evil: What motivations underlie children's prosocial behavior?

How infants and toddlers react to antisocial others

"A customer walked into his pizza shop ..."

5-yr-olds demonstrate bystander effect

5-yr-old helps homeless man

April 19 What are the consequences of helping?

Prosocial spending and happiness: Using money to benefit others pays off

Giving to others and the association between stress and mortality

When charitable acts are "tainted" by personal gain

"Companies that raise money for schools keep 48% for themselves"

Learning by helping?

April 21 When do we help?

The bystander effect: A meta-analytic review...

The (revised) case of Kitty Genovese

50 years later, the case of Kitty Genovese

Commuters free trapped passenger

Bystanders helping

Technology for people with disabilitites

April 26 When do we help?

The smell of virtue.... / off campus

Are you being served...?

Making it easier to accept help

A meta-analytic review of moral licensing

Self-serving justifications: Doing wrong and feeling moral

April 28
Midterm Exam

I am collecting the take-home portion of the midterm at the beginning of class. Then we will take the in-class portion.


May 3

Who helps?


Identification with all humanity as a moral concept...

Geographical differences in subjective well-being predict extraordinary altruism

Our genes want us to be altruists

World Humanity Summit

May 5 Love fuels hate: Two sides of the same coin?

When does familiarity promote versus undermine interpersonal attraction?

Motivational processes underlying both prejudice and helping / off campus

Displays of care and aggression in response to cute stimuli

Why familiarity breeds contempt

We take care of our own: Caregiving salience increases out-group bias...

Processing fluency

The benefits of processing fluency

May 10
Forms of helping: Money vs. time

The happiness of giving: The time-ask effect

Extreme rituals promote prosociality

Time, money, and morality

Ice bucket challenge

The martyrdom effect

May 12 Forms of helping: Caregiving

An immigrant's story

Caregiving and coping in carers of people with anorexia nervosa

Issues in Dementia caregiving

May 17



May 19
Forms of helping: Counseling

Effective helping: Interviewing and counseling techniques

Kidney donor

May 24 Increasing helping

Harm to others outweighs harm to self

The identifiable victim bias

The number of fatalities drives disaster aid

Brits won't take free cash

Donating at the register

South Park - donating at register

Homeless people read mean tweets about themselves

Hero dog


May 26 Complete the Psychology Department Assessment


Priming Buddhist concepts

The effects of playing prosocial video games

500 Questions

May 31 Increasing helping

Research/Analysis Paper Due

"Helping" vs"Being a Helper"

Long-term relations among prosocial-media use, empathy, and prosocial behavior

Helping fellow beings: Anthropomorphized social causes...

Compassion training alters altruism...

Do defaults save lives?

The International Flag of Earth

The Briefcase

Alternatives to The Briefcase



June 2 Increasing helping

Is an outgroup member in need a friend indeed?

Self-affirmation among the poor


The Red Cross' Secret Disaster

June 7
Final Exam

1:00-3:00 pm