Random Act of Kindness

 

 

One important topic in the field of social psychology is explaining why people help others.  The purpose of this assignment is to better understand the psychology of helping by performing a “random act of kindness,” a good deed done when there is no expectation for help and there is no possibility of reward for the deed.    

 

You may choose any random act of kindness that you wish, with the following restrictions:

 

  1. Your act of kindness does not need to be something big or expensive.  You are NOT being graded on how big of an act of kindness you do.  I am more interested in how well you relate your behavior to the theories of helping. 
  2. What you do must be completely legal and ethical, cannot get you into trouble in any way, and cannot put yourself or anyone else at risk of either physical or psychological harm.
  3. The act of kindness must be something that is outside of your normal routine.  Doing your chores at home, for example, would not count as a random act of kindness.
  4. The act must be something that you do deliberately and on purpose, rather than something that you do that just happens to be helpful to someone else.

 

 

After performing the task, write a short (1 page) essay in which you

 

  1. describe what you did:  when, where, and to whom
  2. describe the emotional experience of helping:  what emotions did you feel before, during and after your act of kindness? 
  3. briefly relate your experience to one of the models  that explain why people help:  was your behavior better explained by the egoistic model, the evolutionary model, or the or the empathy-altruism model?  Explain.

 

 
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