Pro-social behaviors

Category: Entertainment

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Pro-social Behavior:

Pro-social Behavior PRESENTED By Nazish rafique


Introduction: The effect of television on children's behavior has been the subject of numerous psychological experiments. Most of this effort has centered on whether television violence leads to violence in society. Less often studied is whether television can lead to pro-social behaviors, which are behaviors that are to believed to benefit others, such as helping people in distress.

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This article ( Sprafkin,Liebert ,& Poulos,1975) presented an experimental study of the effect of television viewing on pro-social behaviors.

Effect of pro-social televised example on children's helping:

Effect of pro-social televised example on children's helping The possibility that regularly broadcast entertainment television programs can facilitate pro-social behavior in children was investigated. The effect of programming were assessed by presenting each child with a situation that require him to choose between continuing to play a game for self-gain and helping puppies in distress.

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Throughout the years the most compelling question has remained the possible detrimental (harmful) effects of violent programming, resulting in considerable knowledge of the influence of televised aggression. Such studies shown that modeling cues provided by a television set can increase the generosity of young observers (Bryan, 1970). Foster adherence to rules ( Steln &Bryan, 1972; Wolf & Cheyen , 1972). Augment delay of gratification (Yates,1974). Facilitates positive interpersonal behaviors (O’Connor, 1969).

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Over the course of 4 weeks, Steln and Friedrich (1973) exposed 3 to 5 year-olds to one of three television diets. Aggressive (Batman and Superman cartoons). Pro-social (Episode taken from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood). Neutral (Such scenes as children working on a farm).


Method: Design: A 3x2 factorial design was used, employing the television experience and the sex differentiation of the subjects. Participants: The Participants were 30 children's, 15 boys and 15 girls, from four first-grade classes in middle-class, predominantly white suburban neighborhood. Subjects were selected randomly from the pool of youngsters whose parents returned the consent form; approximately 80% did so. Within each class and sex the children were assigned randomly to the treatment conditions.

Apparatus and Materials::

Apparatus and Materials: The television viewing room contained a black and white television monitor with a 9 inch screen programmed by a hidden Sony video recorder. The experimental room, in which assessment was conducted, contained two pieces of apparatus: A Point Game Help Button The Point Game consisted of a response key and a display box. The display box was a 6 by 8 inches gray metal box on which a blue 15-W light bulb and a Cramer digital timer were mounted.

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When the button was pressed , the bulb light and the timer was activated. The help button was small green circular button. Earphones were located next to the game on the delay. The tape contained 30 sec of silence followed by 120 sec of dogs barking.


Procedure: The experimenters showed the three video segments to the subjects. The experimental video was a segment from Lassie in which Lassie tries to hide her puppy so it will not be given away. The puppy slips into a mine shaft, and Lassie's master, Jeff, risks his life by hanging over the edge to save the puppy. The first control condition featured another segment from Lassie, but there was no example of a human helping a dog.

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The second control condition showed a clip from the Brady Bunch, which provided a measure of children's willingness to help after viewing a program that emphasized positive family interaction but had nothing to do with humans rescuing dogs. After viewing, the subjects were asked to listen through headphones for noises from a kennel a few miles away. If they heard dogs barking the children were instructed to press a "help" button.

Assessment of willingness to help puppies in distress::

Assessment of willingness to help puppies in distress: Introduction of the game. Introduction of distress situation.

Results and discussion::

Results and discussion: The results indicated those subjects who saw Lassie held the help button much longer than those exposed to the neutral Lassie or the Brady Bunch segments. 9 out of the 10 boys in the two control conditions rendered some help, whereas only 5 out 10 girls in the control conditions did so. This conclusion is further bolstered by the comparison of helping responses between children who saw either the neutral Lassie or Brady Bunch shows; the mere presence of a canine hero in the former did not itself significantly facilitate helping of puppies in distress.

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Theoretically, then, the present results support the social learning view of Bandura (1969,1971) and Liebere (1970, 1973) that the effect of television on behavior are mediated by specific modeling cues and the interpretation of these cues by the child rather than general format. The practical implications of the present demonstration also clear. It is possible to produce television programming that features action and adventure, appeals to child and family audiences, and still has a salutary rather than negative social influence on observers.

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