ERIC Number: ED189490
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: 0
Reciprocity and Dependency Considerations in Adult Donating and Verbal Judgments.
Peterson, Lizette; McCommis, Bruce
The norms of social responsibility and reciprocity govern altruistic behavior. Children and adults show a consistent developmental trend in comparisons of their responses to positive reciprocal situations and their subsequent altruism. Research indicates, however, that children, given the choice to behaviorally aid a needy individual, choose more often to give reciprocally, suggesting a marked difference between the perceptions of verbal and behavioral motivational cues for children and adults. College students (N=36) completed verbal and behavioral tasks to compare adult verbal judgments and donating behavior in response to cues pertaining to the norm of social responsibility and the norm of reciprocity. Differences in the subject response sets to verbal and behavioral tasks were also observed. In the verbal task, subjects deemed that donors in vignettes giving in response to need were more meritorious than donors who had helped reciprocally. However, when given a behavioral donating task, the subjects changed their response pattern dramatically, helping another unseen peer who could reciprocate their action instead of helping a more needy peer. Debriefing responses suggested that for some subjects a "double standard" exists in real life help-giving situations as compared to verbal judgment of merit. For other subjects, a misperception of the behavioral task resulted in the adoption of a "game norm" rather than a "helping norm." (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (52nd, St. Louis, MO, May 1-3, 1980).