We donate more when fatalities are high but not when # of survivors is high - Donations to the Orlando shooting victims and families has been quite large. As recent research has found, people donate more money when there is a high number of deaths, even though we should be donating more when there is a large number of survivors who really need the help.
Empathy - "Woman runs over frog [accidentally] with a lawnmower -- then flies him hundreds of miles for surgery."
Pay it forward - "At one Philly pizza parlor, customers can 'pay it forward' by pre-purchasing $1 slices of pizza for people in need."
5-year-old helps homeless man
Sacrificing one's life
Truly altruistic behavior? - Although this is a very sad case, I am always looking for good examples that raise the question of whether humans helping can ever be considered unselfish. [added 2/2/15]
Omission bias - Is failure to not helpless reprehensible? Are people more responsible if they do something (vs. fail to do something)? omission bias- we tend to blame outcomes on actions rather than inactions.
Ex: A boy throws a ball (action) that another boy could have gotten but wasnt paying attention (inaction) and it breaks a car window. Who is most to blame? Ans: boy who threw ball
You are walking up the street in SF when you see a trolley careening out of control. It is about to hit and kill 5 people. You happen to be standing next to a switch that could divert the trolley to a second track where it would kill only one person. Do you flip the switch? Ans: yes b/c action is indirectly causing one persons death, but saving 5
You are standing on a bridge in SF when you see a trolley below you careening out of control. It is about to hit and kill 5 people. You are standing next to a large man who is leaning over the railing to see what is happening. If you push him off the bridge, he will fall on the track and be killed, yet his weight will stop the trolley saving the 5 people. Do you push him? Ans: no because action directly caused persons death (H/T George Schreer) [added 2/2/15]
"Prosocial bonuses increase employee satisfaction and team performance" - "In three field studies, we explore the impact of providing employees and teammates with prosocial bonuses, a novel type of bonus spent on others rather than on oneself." The first link is to the research article; the second link is to an online article about the research. [added 1/29/15]
Social loafing/bystander effect - Sam Sommers provides a nice example in the form of a mass email request for help. [added 4/3/13]
Priming of helping - "Men who had been approached by a woman asking for directions to Valentine Street were willing to help a different woman retrieve her cell phone from “thieves”, helping her almost 37% of the time. Men asked for directions to Martin Street only helped 20% of the time. The simple mention of “Valentine” unconsciously motivated men to behave in a more chivalrous manner." [added 4/01/13]
Bystander effect - about the individual who was pushed on the tracks of an oncoming subway train in New York City [added 3/5/13]
Identifiable-victim effect - We are more likely to help identified victims than unidentified or statistical victims. Here's an example of personalizing victims, in this case a group that many are uninterested in helping to begin with. [added 6/20/12]
Reciprocal altruism - Woman dropped three valuable rings into a Salvation Army bucket apparently because the Army helped her grandfather years ago. [added 6/18/12]
Example of heroic rescue - During the recent Norwegian massacre, a tourist helped rescue several teens on the island where the shooting took place. [added 1/15/12]
Bystander intervention - case of bystanders and a medical team helping a man survive despite going 96 minutes without a pulse [4/9/11]
Good Samaritan case[added 12/5/10]
Bystander apathy - A very disturbing video -- A man who helped rescue a woman from an attack was seriously injured in the attack. He is now lying on the sidewalk dying. Watch the response of passersby. (Passersby - is that a word?) [added 6/19/10]
Man punches shark - video about a man who "punched a shark to save his dog's life" [3/26/09]
Children modeling parents - cute little video [added 12/12/07]
Ambiguity of Situation - I see examples all the time of how the level of ambiguity of need for help in a situation has changed over time in our society. For example, quite a few years ago if the interior light of a car was on it usually meant the person forgot to turn it off. If you saw that person leaving his car with the light still on you might mention it to him. As the technology advanced so that more and more cars had interior lights that turned off by themselves, there was a period of time during which that experience was an ambiguous one (at least for me). Is this one of those cars? Eventually, it was no longer ambiguous. Now, if I see someone close up a car and leave and the interior light is still on, I am quite confident that will turn off on its own. No help is needed. A similar pattern has occurred more recently (at least for me!) with car headlights. A few years ago, even if you knew that interior light was going off on its own, if the headlights were left on you might mention it to the driver. Now, some headlights turn off on their own shortly after the driver leaves. So, now I'm back in the land of ambiguity! Eventually, I imagine, when I see a driver walk away from his car, and it's rolling backwards down the hill, I'll think, "Oh, it's one of those new ones that park themselves."
Bystander effect - Sam Sommers comments on an event that happened in China in which passersby ignored a young child lying in the road who had been struck by a truck. Read Sam's commentary at the first link; here is a video which shows the kid being hit by a truck and then ignored by some people passing by. [added 1/15/12]
Bystander Effect - When we talked about altruism and helpfulness in class two past experiences crossed my mind. The first experience was on my sister's birthday, December 22nd. Our family had a dinner planned for this occasion. We were all to meet at a restaurant at a particular time. The weather on her birthday was terrible. It was very cold and icy. Also, there was quite a bit of snow still on the ground from the previous week. Well, I got stuck in my parking spot at my apartment. And, no one helped. I saw several people look out their patio windows at me, but no one helped. My tires were spinning and I know people must of heard my car. I was absolutely frozen. Well, finally I managed to dig around my tires and rock myself out of the rut. I was late for the dinner and had a chill all night. I was very mad that people saw me and did not help. I just couldn't believe they would watch a girl struggle whom they had seen in the apartment hallways and laundry room. However, after talking about the reasons some people help and some don't in class, I understand a little bit more. I believe the reason most people didn't help was just the ambiguity of the situation and lack of empathy. These people were just unsure about whether I really needed help or the consequence if they did help. And, it was so cold perhaps it just was not worth the effort. In addition, there was obviously diffusion of responsibility as there were many observers, yet not one helped. Perhaps, the observers thought someone would eventually help me and each passed the buck to the other.
Bystander Effect - This PBS site accompanying a Frontline show on the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan massacre details how many countries stood by and did little to prevent the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans.
Identifiable victim bias (Empathy) - Why are we more willing to empathize with and help a few dozen stranded miners in Chile than the millions affected by flooding in Pakistan? This article suggests it is, in part, because of the miners are more clearly identifiable. [added 9/25/10]
Empathy - "Doctors who express empathy get highest patient ratings." [added 12/26/07]
Empathy - Relating to my husband's broken leg experience (again!), I offered some help to a woman last week at school. She was on two crutches and looked wistfully at the coffee pots before class started. I offered her my seat so she could put her bad leg on the table and got her some coffee. After living with this situation for so long, I know it's impossible to carry a cup of coffee while on crutches. This is a perfect example relating to my notes on "conditions affecting whether or not to help -- #6 empathy -- more likely to help similar others because easier to empathize/easier to relate to them." (I know punctuation is incorrect, but here I am quoting my incorrectly punctuated class notes!) This was the only condition which warranted me to help: there were many other people around; I was anonymous to her; I didn't feel guilty about anything; and I didn't even think about her response.
Empathy - The second experience was when I was on my way home which at this time was to my parents' house. I saw a jogger on the side of the road which looked injured as he was lying down and holding his leg. It was dark out and I wanted to stop, but thought maybe I should get my dad to come with me. So, I drove quickly home and dashed into the house to tell my dad. My dad was very eager to help just as I was because he was a jogger. You see, both of my parents and myself are joggers (similarity was the key here). Anyhow, my dad went with me to go see if we could help this injured jogger. Well, he wobbled himself to a parking lot down the street when my dad and I found him. He was not a jogger, but a drunk with long hair and earrings and a beautiful orange jacket. I was so glad my dad was with me! My dad and I brought the man home and I apologized to my dad for mistaking him for a jogger. He was very understanding. I believe both my dad and I could relate to what I perceived as an injured jogger. My dad has limped home himself several times. We definitely had empathy for this supposed jogger. I believe our moods were good too. I know my dad and myself well enough to know that if either one of us were in a bad mood, we would not have bothered.
Fear inhibits helping - Here's an interesting and disturbing first-person story of a journalist (and others) observing a helpless victim receiving a vicious beating and not intervening. This link takes you to an interesting blog which connects this event to some research on what is courage. [added 11/17/07]
Guilt - Fascinating story of Aki Ra who was forced at age 5 to plant land mines for the Khmer Rouge. "Ra regretted what he had done during his time in the Khmer Rouge—and he vowed to spend the rest of his life making it up to his fellow Cambodians. He remembered where he had buried many of the land mines, and knew how to quickly and safely disarm them. So, armed only with a metal detector, a small pocketknife, and several other small tools, he began locating land mines on the ground and disarming them by hand....So, for more than 20 years, Ra has traveled through the Cambodian countryside, disarming thousands of active mines and leading safety education programs for villages. Though the mines are filled with TNT and could detonate at any second, Ra has never been injured in his work." [added 3/6/10]
Guilt - I went through the Starbucks' drive thru over the weekend and after I order the lady asked if I would alike to buy a pot of coffee for the soldiers in Iraq. I was not ready for the question; I was kind of frazzled from other things going on (drive thrus wig me out, expecially when it is the building and a curb and the car has to fit between the two....YIKES). Anyway, I said yes because how do you say no. Guilt surely took over me. I would have felt horrible if I said no, but why... who knows if the soldiers will really get the pot of coffee. It was certainly somewhat of a selfish act because I did not have to worry about feeling guilty for the rest of the day. [added 4/16/08]
"The guilty green" - Guilt and Helping - Describes the guilt many environmentally-conscious people feel when their behavior is not always consistent with their beliefs [added 12/26/07]
Refusal of "help" - Londoners mostly passed up an offer for a free 5 pound note in this little "experiment" conducted by a price comparison website.[added 7/31/08]
Responsibility - An example of someone not helping because they feel that the event was internally caused and controllable was found in the movie "Burning Bed." In it, Farrah Fawcett is being abused by her husband and goes to her mother for help. Her mother's response is, "You make a hard bed; you got to lie in it." Here the mother clearly feels that since the daughter decided to marry the man -- a controllable, internally caused decision -- she isn't as deserving of help. It's her fault, she'll have to deal with it.
Social Responsibility Norm - Commuters push train to help passenger - interesting example of mass helping [added 2/2/15]
Social Responsibility Norm - During flooding in Gurnee, the TV reporters interviewed many people who were sand-bagging, asking them why they were helping out. Many responded in line with the social responsibility norm. They didn't live in the area, had nothing to gain or lose from stopping the flooding, but were out there helping because it seemed the right thing to do. I think that many were also motivated by what the book terms "perceived reasons for the need." People are more likely to provide help if they attribute the difficulty to external causes beyond the person's control. Here the rain causing the river to rise and flood would be an example of an uncontrollable event externally caused.
Using social norms - Hey, who put those pink flamingos on my lawn? "The flamingos were placed there by someone other than the home's resident to get the homeowner to donate money. In order to have the flamingos removed, the recipient needed to make a donation. The recipient is also encouraged to "flock" a friend's lawn in order to get them to contribute as well." [added 7/5/09]
How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay on any Topic
What is a Cause and Effect Essay?
A Cause and Effect essay essay is concerned with why things happen and what happens as a result (effects). Cause and effect is a common method of organizing and discussing ideas.
When writing your essay, remember your purpose. Decide if your are writing to persuade or inform. Focus on immediate and direct effects. Limit yourself to causes that are close in time and related, as opposed to remote and indirect causes, which occur later and are related indirectly.
Choosing a Topic for Cause and Effect Essay
In order to write a good Cause and Effect essay, you need to find a good topic for it, i.e. a topic that lets you easily demonstrate your writing skills and finally get a high grade without thinking too much.
Althrough choosing the essay topic for cause and effect essay type is not difficult, It’s important you choose the essay topic that is really important for you. Choosing the correct essay topic makes your essay more interesting and successful.
Here are some examples of pretty good Cause and Effect essay topics:
The Civil Rights Movement and the Effects
Causes and Effects of the Popularity of Fast Food Restaurants
Popularity of Sports in US Internet Influence on kids
Effects of Pollution
The Changes in the Ocean
Using the following links, you can find a lot of good topics for your Cause and Effect essay:
100 Cause and Effect Essay Topics
40 Good Cause and Effect Essay Topics – Students’ Choice
Cause Effect Essay Sample Topics
40 Writing Topics: Causes and Effects
Cause and Effect essay structure
Considering the right structure for your essay is one of the key points of success. Sticking to a recommended essay structure is the only way to properly outline and write it, paragraph by paragraph from the introduction to conclusion, without mistakes.
Depending on the kind of relation between causes and effects, your essay can be organized by one of the three patterns: "Multiple Causes, One Effect" pattern, "One Cause, Multiple Effects" pattern and "Causal Chain (Domino)" pattern
Multiple Causes One Effect pattern
This pattern deals with the situation when one effect is a result of multiple causes.
It contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, each one describing one of the causes, leading to the effect.
One Cause Multiple Effects
This pattern should be used when one cause leads to multiple effects.
It contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, each one describing one of the effects, the cause is leading to.
Causal Chain (Domino)
Sometimes a cause leads to a situation and that situation leads to another situation and so on.
This is called a causal chain or domino effect.
Causal chain pattern contains seven paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and five paragraphs, each one describing one causal link.
After choosing an essay pattern, now all you need is to write your cause and effect essay, on any topic, according to your pattern’s structure. Also, be sure to read the A+ writing tips for a cause and effect essay on any topic below. Follow these instructions and you will write a high grading cause and effect essay.
Writing an A+ Cause and Effect Essay
In a Cause and Effect essay, the introduction is very important. It gives the reader his/her first impression of the text.
First of all, provide background information. Than state your essay’s thesis.
In "Multiple Causes, One Effect" pattern, enumerate the causes / causes groups leading to this effect. For example:
Hunger is a result of many reasons such as poverty, models of development and consumption, violence and militarism.
In "One Cause, Multiple Effects" pattern, enumerate the effects / effect groups of the cause. For example:
TV was also invented with positive thoughts in mind – there would be no national borders, education and communication would be worldwide, etc. However, we are now trying to overcome its physiological and psychological adverse effects on human beings.
In "Causal Chain (Domino)" pattern, state that the first cause in the chain leads to the final effect. For example:
Let’s see how the use of popular deodorants can bring the end of world.
Multiple Causes, One Effect – Cause Paragraph
Clearly state the cause
One of the main causes of hunger is poverty – lack of purchasing power and access to resources.
Support the cause by two supports – major and minor
Poverty is linked not only with poor national economic performance but also with an unequal distribution of income and a political structure that renders poor people powerless, whether in a democracy or a dictatorship.
While writing, these supporting ideas should be adequately explained and exemplified as well.
Globally, incomes and consumption differ starkly. Twenty percent of the world’s population – mostly in industrial countries – receives 85 percent of the world’s income and accounts for 80 percent of consumption, producing two-thirds of all greenhouse gases and 90 percent of ozone - depleting chlorofluorocarbons. This level of consumption is not sustainable at the global level.
Use appropriate transitions
To blend details smoothly, use the transitional words and phrases listed below:
because, due to, on cause is, another is, since, for, first, second
One Cause, Multiple Effects – Effect Paragraph
Clearly state the effect
One of the physiological effects of watching TV in excessive amounts is eye-strain.
Explain it in details
It is true that there are specifications for watching TV; TV should be 5 m. away from the eye, the room should be adequately lit, TV should be placed at the same height with our eyes, etc. However, these do not prevent our eyes from getting tired if we keep watching TV for a long time.
If it’s a group of effects consequently explain each effect:
Another effect is obesity, which is widely observed in people who like watching TV and eating snacks everyday (there is even a term “TV snacks” to refer to fast food that is suitable for eating in front of the TV). TV is such a powerful machine that people cannot get away from it – it is addictive.
Use appropriate transitions
To blend details smoothly, use the transitional words and phrases listed below:
consequently, as a result, thus, resulted in, one result is, another is, therefore
Causal Chain (Domino) – Causal Link Paragraph
Keep in mind the causal chain
deodorants contain chlorofluorocarbon gases ->
this gas destroys the ozone layer ->
unfiltered ultraviolet rays melt icebergs ->
the sea-level rises -> sea covers the land -> end of the world.
In each paragraph you deal with one cause / effect entry
Clearly state the cause and the effect
Chlorofluorocarbon gases cause the ozone layer to become thinner and finally disappear in patches
Explain the link in details
Years of deforestation and pollution have slowly but steadily damaged the atmosphere and depleted the ozone layer. Refrigerators and air conditioners, for example, emit harmful Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) which cause the depletion of the ozone layer, which results in Global warming.
Use appropriate transition terms
To blend details smoothly, use transitional terms, such as those listed below:
because, due to, on cause is, another is, since, for, first, second, consequently, as a result, thus, resulted in, one result is, another is, therefore
The conclusion of a cause and effect essay is one of the more important essay components. Without a solid ending, the earlier analysis could fall flat, no matter how well written the ideas were.
Restate (do not repeat) the thesis
Global warming is the result of human negligence. Years of deforestation and pollution have slowly but steadily damaged the atmosphere and depleted the ozone layer.
Consider the implications
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and ask yourself what needs to be said to finish things up in a clear, concise way. What things need to be addressed in order to wrap things up?
You may explain how your conclusion should be practically used; express your hopes as you look to the future; issue a call for action, etc.:
To reduce Global warming we need to control the air pollution, the emission of the harmful gases and factory smoke. We need to respect and protect our environment so that we have safe and healthy air to breathe and we can live in a clean atmosphere.
Finalizing your Work
Pay attention that even though your essay is fully written, it still isn’t ready to submission.
There are some common and annoying mistakes which may significantly harm your grade. However, you can avoid those grade lowering mistakes by completing the following checklist:
- Check spelling and grammar
- Ensure that your essay is fully compliant with the required formatting standard
- Properly organize all the citations and the References / Works Cited page
- Ensure that your title page is done as required
- Take a final look at your paper to be certain that everything is indeed fine