Behavioral Consequences of Empathy-Induced Altruism
This chapter identifies possible behaviors that can satisfy different proposed empathy-induced motives, providing a basis for distinguishing these motives empirically. The hedonic calculus prompted by altruistic motivation is compared with the hedonic calculus prompted by egoistic motives for helping, including reward seeking, punishment avoiding, and reducing aversive arousal. Empathic over-arousal, personal distress, and egoistic drift are discussed, and the extensive evidence for an empathy-helping relationship is reviewed. Three egoistic alternatives to the empathy-altruism hypothesis are introduced: Empathy-specific rewards, empathy-specific punishments, and aversive-arousal reduction. A unique configuration of possible behaviors associated with each of these motives and with altruistic motivation is identified, providing a basis for empirical tests of the nature of the motivation produced by empathic concern.
Keywords: aversive-arousal reduction, egoistic alternatives, egoistic drift, empathic over-arousal, empathy-helping relationship, empathy-induced altruism, hedonic calculus, punishment avoiding, reward seeking
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