The Social Exchange Theory versus Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis of Social Psychology – Article Example

Altruism Wesley Autrey actions can best be explained the empathy-altruism theoretical approach of the social psychology. This is because the social exchange theory theoretically states that altruism can only happen when the benefits certainly exceed the costs. However from Autrey’s story this cannot be true as he acted according to the empathy-altruism theory. Wesley was able to genuinely help out Hollopeter due to genuine concern for the sake of his well-being in ensuring that he could not be run over by the train as he lay there on the tracks stricken by epilepsy. The essential ingredient that contributes to the desire to help arises from the emphatic concern (Louise, 2002). The empathy-altruism theory states that when an individual has feelings of empathy towards another individual then they will help them out from their troubles regardless of what they will gain from performing such kindness. Taking away their tribulations and suffering precede everything as it is the most important thing. Lack of empathy makes the social exchange to take control of an individual’s actions.
The empathy-altruism hypothesis in a clear illustration, on how an individual with empathic concern, is able to generate altruistic motivation. The empathic concern is an oriented emotion which is felt for an individual who is need of tenderness, compassion, or sympathy. Hollopeter was in need of protection and sympathy so that he could not be run over by the train. This is an indication of a person who was desperately in need of help so that his life could not be ended brutally on the rail trails. Wesley had to show the emphatic concern because of his compassion towards Hollopeter. The altruistic motivation is the motivational state which an individual gains with the sole aim of ensuring that the welfare of another individual is increased. Wesley felt the need to help out Hollopeter out of the altruistic motivation which he felt within. His ultimate goal was to save his life and also ensure that if he remained alive he was not hurt which is a form of ensuring that his welfare is improved.
Altruism is the best psychological technique which every individual should try to adopt as it is beneficial to all mankind. This is because altruism involves the unselfish concern for the welfare of other people. When strangers are able to help out one another in situations of trouble it ensures that the world becomes an enjoyable place to live in. By not expecting any form of reward for any assistance offered to needy person is a very noble thing to do, which every individual should be really proud of (Louise, 2002). People should always strive to ensure that most or all of their actions are done simply out of the desire to help and just because they feel that they have a moral obligation to the society out of loyalty, duty, or religious reasons. This ensures that individuals who are in need are helped out and can be able to carry on with their lives happily as is expected of every individual.
Through altruism the society can become a better place to live. This makes life bearable and enjoyable for everyone knowing that people who can even be strangers to them can be so willing to ensure that they provide for their needs. The motivation to provide something of value to another individual, who can be anyone and not one’s self: can be truly satisfying experience (Louise, 2002). People should perform pure acts of altruism by sacrificing anything including their lives with no expectation of any benefit, compensation or reward for any action. Through acts of altruism it also ensures that an individual gets an intrinsic reward in the form of personal gratification.
Louise, B. (2002). Human Evolutionary Psychology. New Jersey: Princeton University Press