Topic “Prosocial Behaviour Is The Outcome Of Multiple… Factors” (Eisenberg & Fabes, 1998, P.742)

2599 words - 11 pages

Developmental Psychology | PSY 484 - X

Introduction 3
Cultural Factors 3
Socialization within and outside the family 4
Demographics 4
Parental Warmth and Quality of Relationship 5
Parental Discipline Practices 5
Parental Emphasis on Prosocial Values 5
Modelling 5
Nondisciplinary Verbalizations 5
Reinforcements for Prosocial Behaviour 6
Provision of ...view middle of the document...

While many questions have yet to be answered relating to the dynamics between these factors, several connections have been identified between individual’s social behaviours and their respective social arenas. “…Data suggest that development is continuous over time…and during this period of emergent development, empathetic responses may be particularly susceptible to environmental influence” (Robinson, Zahn-Waxler & Emde, 1994. p.126-127).
The purpose of this paper is to examine the roots of prosocial behaviour. However, at the onset, it must be stated that the factors influencing an individuals’ behaviour are so numerous that three of the major factors will be examined in this paper i.e. cultural, socialisation and individual characteristics.

Cultural Factors
Research on cross-cultural and sub-cultural affects on prosocial behaviour has been based on cooperation, competition and sharing behavioural tendencies. These studies have found that children from traditionally rural societies are more cooperative than those of urban or westernized cultures (Eisenberg & Fabes, 1998). These cultures tend to be made up of traditionally large families and as Whiting, Edwards, Graves and Graves (as cited in Eisenberg & Fabes, 1998) found in their research, children are assigned chores from an early age and take on family responsibilities as a way of keeping the unit fully functional. This early importance on collaboration seems to explain why these children tend to be more prosocial than their western counterparts (Shaffer, 2000). While studies show that children in non-western cultures may be more altruistic than those in western societies, there is little information that proves that these cultural differences exist.
Studies reveal that children “distinguish moral imperatives, which protect people’s rights and welfare from, two other domains of actions: social conventions, customs determined solely by consensus…and matters of personal choice, which do not violate rights or harm others, are not socially regulated, and therefore are up to the individual” (Berk, 2003, p.499). As children’s ideas about justice progress, they clarify and link moral imperatives and social conventions. The same criteria are used by children in diverse cultures to separate moral concerns from social conventions. “Certain behaviours are classified differently across cultures because of the intentions behind those practices” (Berk, 2003, 501).
There appears to be considerable differences in the influence of culture on prosocial behaviour. These differences cannot be quantified since cultural groups differ significantly in the valuing of social actions, e.g. “in some cultures helpfulness and social responsibilities are emphasized more than individual rights” (Eisenberg & Fabes, 1998, p709). Current studies do not significantly show how cultural factors contribute towards prosocial development since there has not been enough cross-cultural research...

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