Psychological Implications of Helping – Altruism and Egoism
In the first section of this online course we explained motives and expectations of helpers and the roles altruism and egoism and their combination play in helping behaviour.
The following video gives a short summary.
You have learned that the motives for helping others usually are rooted in a mixture of altruistic and egoistic motives. Altruistic reasons e.g. are empathy, compassion, respect of others and the wish to support those who are in need of a helping hand. Altruistic reasons might be joy, satisfaction, a sense of meaning or a higher degree of self-esteem.
We would like to discuss the altruism/egoism topic through an example:
It is one day before Christmas Eve. David is walking through the city to do some gift shopping. The weather is cold, wet and windy. At a draughty corner he sees a homeless man sitting on some newsprint paper. At first, David walks by and wants to continue his shopping tour. But after some minutes he feels somehow uncomfortable. He does not feel compassion with the homeless man but something like a bad conscience and guilt. “At Christmas you have to do something good” he thinks. So he walks back, appoaches the man and hands him a two Euro coin.