Event Title

Understanding Altruism: The Effects of Personality and Mood on Altruistic Behavior

Poster Number

078

Faculty Mentor

Tara J. Collins, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Psychology

Location

Richardson Ballroom – DiGiorgio Campus Center

Start Date

12-4-2019 2:15 PM

End Date

April 2019

Description

Understanding the motivations behind altruism may be difficult to do because it contradicts aspects of learning theory, such as reinforcements influencing behaviors. Previous research suggests that altruistic behavior could be motivated by personal characteristics, including mood or personality traits. The primary goal of our current study was to add to the understanding of how these factors affect altruistic behavior. One hundred and two individuals (primarily women) were recruited through a convenience sample to participate in our study. Our survey asked people to respond to hypothetical scenarios measuring altruistic behavior, such as moving out of the way of someone on the sidewalk, depending on their own mood, the recipient’s mood, and whether or not the other person was distracted by his/her phone. Our survey also measured participants’ personality traits, mood, and frequency of altruistic behaviors. Our results revealed that participants were more likely to act altruistically if they were in a positive mood. We also found that agreeableness and intellect/imagination (also known as openness) significantly predicted altruism toward friends and acquaintances, and agreeableness significantly predicted altruism toward strangers. Lastly, we found that participants were significantly more altruistic to friends and acquaintances than other relationships. Our results conclude that mood and personality types can play a role in a person’s motivation to perform altruistic behaviors. These findings also suggest that people may also be motivated by what relationships they have with recipients of their altruistic acts.

Previously Presented/Performed?

Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, Jacksonville, Florida, March 2019

Course Assignment

PSYC 302 – Collins

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Apr 12th, 2:15 PM Apr 12th, 4:15 PM

Understanding Altruism: The Effects of Personality and Mood on Altruistic Behavior

Richardson Ballroom – DiGiorgio Campus Center

Understanding the motivations behind altruism may be difficult to do because it contradicts aspects of learning theory, such as reinforcements influencing behaviors. Previous research suggests that altruistic behavior could be motivated by personal characteristics, including mood or personality traits. The primary goal of our current study was to add to the understanding of how these factors affect altruistic behavior. One hundred and two individuals (primarily women) were recruited through a convenience sample to participate in our study. Our survey asked people to respond to hypothetical scenarios measuring altruistic behavior, such as moving out of the way of someone on the sidewalk, depending on their own mood, the recipient’s mood, and whether or not the other person was distracted by his/her phone. Our survey also measured participants’ personality traits, mood, and frequency of altruistic behaviors. Our results revealed that participants were more likely to act altruistically if they were in a positive mood. We also found that agreeableness and intellect/imagination (also known as openness) significantly predicted altruism toward friends and acquaintances, and agreeableness significantly predicted altruism toward strangers. Lastly, we found that participants were significantly more altruistic to friends and acquaintances than other relationships. Our results conclude that mood and personality types can play a role in a person’s motivation to perform altruistic behaviors. These findings also suggest that people may also be motivated by what relationships they have with recipients of their altruistic acts.