On Friday evening around 7 PM in Odisha’s Balasore, a horrific train derailment happened. Killed 290 people and over 900 have been injured.
It has been in different news channels and newspapers, 20 ambulances reached at the spot immediately. And every doctor and staff got on duty immediately on hearing this news. Many injured people lost blood. There was an urgent need of blood for injured patients. But in Balasore, it was a little hard to fulfill such blood requirements. When people in Odisha got this information regarding blood requirements. Without any delay, they reached hospitals for donating their bloods. Even till midnight these people were standing in queue for blood donation to the injured patients of a train accident in Balasore district hospital. This is India, people come forward to donate and provide every possible help at the time of any major disaster or incident.
Understanding Batson’s “empathy-altruism hypothesis”
Batson’s empathy-altruism hypothesis, a psychological theory proposed by a social psychologist, C. Daniel Batson. The hypothesis proposes that empathy plays a crucial role in motivating altruistic behaviour, particularly in situations where the individual feels empathy towards another person in need. They will help them regardless of thinking, what profit they can from it. According to Batson, true altruism occurs when someone helps another person purely out of concern for their well-being. Without any expectation of personal profit or benefit. The empathy-altruism hypothesis suggests that when an individual experiences empathy towards someone in distress, they are more likely to help them. Even also if the act of helping demands some costs or sacrifices for themselves.
Batson has conducted numerous experiments to test his hypothesis. The most well-known experiments is the “escape from shocks” study. In this experiment, participants observe another person who appears to be in pain and distress when receiving electric shocks. The participants were given an opportunity to help the person by switching their place and receiving the shocks themselves. The outcomes showed that participants who reported high levels of empathetic feelings toward the distressed person were more likely to help. Even when they had the option to go away from the situation without helping.
Based on these findings, Batson argued that empathy leads to genuine altruism because it creates a motivational state in which an individual is primarily concerned with reducing the other person’s pain and distress. In other words, when an individual experience empathy towards someone in distress. They are more likely to help them, even if the act of helping demands some costs or sacrifices for themselves. However, it’s important to note that the empathy-altruism hypothesis has also got some criticism and alternative explanations have been proposed. An alternative hypothesis is “empathy-joy”. Which suggests that a person helps because they find pleasure at seeing another person experience relief. Overall, Batson’s empathy-altruism hypothesis has made a significant contributions to the understanding of altruistic behaviour and the role of empathy in motivating and encouraging prosocial actions. It highlights the importance of empathy in cultivating compassion and helping behavior toward others in need.
According to Batson, true altruism occurs when someone helps another person purely out of concern for their well-being, without any expectation of personal profit or benefit.