Chapter

Extraordinary Acts of Ordinary People

Samuel P. Oliner

in Altruism and Altruistic Love

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195143584
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848119 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195143584.003.0012
Extraordinary Acts of Ordinary People

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We characterize behavior as altruistic when it is directed toward helping another, involves a high risk or sacrifice to the actor, is accompanied by no external reward, and is voluntary. Normocentric individuals are those who take part in rescuing or helping activities and who have internalized highly valued norms. Many values of caring and social responsibility are acquired directly from parents. The extensive-personality predisposition comprises emotionally healthy attachment to family and the inclusion of others as deserving of care. For normocentric rescuers, inaction is a violation of the community's religious and moral norms of behavior. Empathic motivation involves concern with the fate of another in distress, and compassion, sympathy, and pity are its characteristic expressions. Principled motivation involved acting on one's own.

Keywords: normocentric; emphatic motivation; values; caring; rescue

Chapter.  8583 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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