This is the second part of a two-part activity! The first part is available here.
We’re less socially responsible when we’re together with others.
We think we see things but we don’t.
If I as you for help, you will like me more!
Getting something in return for our acts isn’t what truly motivates us.
It’s difficult to motivate people directly.
Dylan James mentions “deindividuation,” and specifically a clever 1976 study on that phenomenon, described in detail on Scientific American. Researchers wanted to know under what conditions trick-or-treating kids would be more likely to take extra candy. On Halloween, experimenter stationed themselves inside Seattle homes and opened the doors to trick-or-treaters. Half the time, the experimenter asked the kids what their names were and where they lived. Half the time, she didn’t ask anything. In both cases, the experimenter said the kids were allowed to take one candy from a bowl and then went away to do some work. As it turns out, when we’re in groups, we tend to be less inhibited and act in non-socially normative ways.
“We are not as observant as we think we are,” writes Lukas Schwekendiek. People who have watched the video (you can watch it here) don’t notice the gorilla, presumably because they’re so wrapped up in counting the basketball passes. Of course, when asked if they would notice the gorilla in this situation, nearly everyone says they would.
James Saker highlights the psychological phenomenon commonly known as the “Ben Franklin Effect.” Supposedly, volunteers liked the experimenter most when they’d done him the favor of returning his money, and least when they’d gotten to keep their money.
Self-determination theory is a framework used to understand human motivation. The theory was developed by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, and has since been expanded by other researchers. According to Deci and Ryan’s research, when you perform an inherently interesting activity and are then rewarded for it, your intrinsic motivation (doing something because you enjoy it) can in some cases subsequently decrease. Think receiving a monetary bonus for hitting your goals at work and then feeling less inclined to work hard afterward. Nicolas Connault writes that this idea is often unpopular “because it essentially means you cannot directly control someone’s motivation.” He adds: “Despite this extremely well researched and cross-cultural effect, most people just don’t get it because it seems so counterintuitive.”