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Altruism in Humans$
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C. Daniel Batson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195341065

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341065.001.0001

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Testing the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis

Testing the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis

(p.110) 5 Testing the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis
Altruism in Humans

C. Daniel Batson

Oxford University Press

Building on the analysis in Chapter 3 of behaviors differentially affected by altruistic and egoistic motives, this chapter reviews the results of over 30 experiments that were conducted between 1978 and 1996 to test the empathy-altruism hypothesis against six different egoistic alternatives. To assist assessment of this large body of evidence, a summary table is provided for each egoistic alternative. These tables present the procedures and results of all published experiments that test the empathy-altruism hypothesis against each alternative. The egoistic alternatives are: aversive-arousal reduction; two versions of empathy-specific punishment—avoiding negative social evaluation (censure) and avoiding negative self-evaluation (guilt); and three version of empathy-specific reward—seeking social and self-rewards for helping, seeking empathic joy, and seeking negative-state relief. Results of the experiments support the empathy-altruism hypothesis and fail to support any of the egoistic alternatives—or any combination of the egoistic alternatives.

Keywords:   aversive-arousal reduction, censure, egoistic alternatives, empathic joy, empathy-altruism hypothesis, empathy-specific punishment, empathy-specific reward, guilt, negative-state relief

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