Prosocial Behavior and Diffusion of Responsibilities


ProsocialBehavior and Diffusion of Responsibilities


Thisis a human behavior benefits other members of the society, other thanthe person doing the actions. It is a voluntary behavior by a personwhose intention is to help other people. Examples of such behaviorinclude volunteering, donating, helping people, sharing andco-operating. In most cases, Pro-social behavior is motivated byconcern for the welfare of other people or is driven by empathy.According to Barrett (2002), Pro-social behavior drives the wellbeing of the society through self-less acts of the members of acommunity.

Stepsand Significance of pro-social behavior

Thefirst step is noticing the event or a situation that qualifies theinvolvement of an individual. For a person to help, he or she musthave identified an event or an emergency that has occurred within hisor her reach (Aronson et al, 2012). The significance of this step isthe creation of attention of the person towards the event. Otherwise,a person cannot assist the situation if he or she does not perceiveit. This means that an individual must have paid attention to theenvironment or the surrounding in order to notice the emergencyevent.

Thesecond step is the interpretation of the situation as an emergency.This involves the perception of a person and the internalization ofthe circumstances and concludes of an emergency situation (Aronson etal, 2012). The significance of this step is the separation of thepro-social people from the anti-social bystanders. This stepdetermines whether a person will help or not, out of the many peoplewho notice the situation. This explains why some people willinterpret an event as an emergency and help while others will justevade.

Thethird step is assuming responsibility of the situation. The decisionto take responsibility to help in the event is made after theinternalization of the circumstances and the existence of the need tohelp. The significance of this step is the decision making of whetherto help or not. According to Kassin et al (2013), People will nothelp just like that, they decide to help instead.

Thefourth step is to know how to help. This determines whether a personwill help or not in particular situations. The significance of thisstep is the determination of a person the ability to help (Aronson etal, 2012). This is because a person may not help despite having thewill to do so, because of the knowledge of how to help. In case aperson cannot, this step helps him or her to determine who else canhelp, and take the necessary measures.

Thefifth step is deciding to implement the help. A person may know howto help but does not implement the help because of fear or feeling ofdisability to do so (Aronson et al, 2012). The significance of thisstep is the extent of the help that a person gives or not. This isbecause the step determines whether an individual will really help ornot.

Diffusionof responsibility

Diffusionof responsibilities is the phenomenon in social-psychology where anindividual evades from taking responsibility of his behavior in termsof action inaction in the presence of other people. In such acircumstance, a person assumes that other people have takenresponsibility for their actions (Dovidio, 2006). This explains whyDiffusion of responsibility mostly takes place when people are in agroup setting or there are more than one potentially responsibleperson.

Oneof the potential conditions that the Diffusion of responsibilitytakes place is when people are in groups with common assignments,especially assignments that are not assigned explicitly (Ciccarelli &ampWhite, 2009). This means that people have a responsibility of actingor not acting, but the individual responsibility is not well outlinedto hold each individual accountable. Therefore, in the event of anaction or inaction of an individual, that person tends to evade fromtaking responsibility. Consequently, he or she assumes that othermembers of the group will bear the responsibility.

Thesecond potential condition is the situation of anonymity. Diffusionof responsibility is most likely to occur when people do not know thevictim of the situation in personal terms. In pro-social situations,a person tend to assume that there is another person who is moreclosely related or known to the victim of a situation who will takethe responsibility of taking an action (Ciccarelli &amp White,2009). This situation makes people take the characters of bystanders.

Thethird situation is an organization or a group setting where peopleinvolved in a task share lose motivation for achieving the group oforganizational tasks. This situation is where people in the settinghave low feelings of responsible for the goals and targets of theorganization (Pinel, 2011). Consequently, they will tend to hidetheir efforts as a way of social loafing and taking behaviors thatare caused by individuating. Therefore, individuals feel less awareof their expectations and diffuse the feeling of personalresponsibility for the achievement of the organization or groupgoals. Consequently, they will tend to evade responsibility for theconsequences of the outcome of the individual or group targets.


Aronson,E., Wilson, T. D., &amp Akert, R. M. (2012). SocialPsychology, Sixth Edition.London: Pearson Education, Limited

Barrett,Louise (2002). HumanEvolutionary Psychology.Princeton University Press

Ciccarelli,S. K. &amp White, J. N. (2009). Psychology(2nd Ed.).New Jersey: Pearson Education

Dovidio,J. F. (2006). TheSocial Psychology of Prosocial Behavior.New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers

Kassin,S., Fein, S., &amp Markus, H. (2013). SocialPsychology.New York: Cengage Learning

Pinel,J. J. (2011). Psychology,8th Edition.New York: Pearson