University of Twente Student Theses


The role of perspective taking on prosocial behavior

Pieterman, Frank van de (2015) The role of perspective taking on prosocial behavior.

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Abstract:Prosocial behavior plays a large role in everyday society; in order to further elaborate on this interesting concept, the goal of this research was to explore the relationship between perspective taking and prosocial behavior. Following the two types of perspective taking described by Batson, Early and Salvarani (1997)(imagining how s/he feels in a given situation, and imagining how you would feel in that situation), participants (N = 101) in an experiment received a text and instructions with regards to perspective taking. There was a control group as well. After reading a sad text, empathy, personal distress and transportation were measured with scales, followed by two situations where prosocial behavior was required. The expectation was that imagining yourself as the main character in a stressful situation (in this research; meeting a former partner after a recent break up) would stimulate personal distress more than the other conditions, causing an individual to show more prosocial behavior in a non-urgent situation. However, this was not the case, although participants in both perspective-taking groups did score higher on empathy, personal distress and transportation, and showed more prosocial behavior in urgent situations. The major conclusion is that in urgent situations where prosocial behavior is required, it is possible to stimulate perspective taking in individuals in order to invoke prosocial behavior.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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