Emphatic Self-Efficacy as an Antecedent to Prosocial Behavior

Emphatic Self-Efficacy as an Antecedent to Prosocial Behavior

The article by J. Eklund, C.Loeb and others is based upon the socio-psychological studies. The topic of the article concerns the importance of self-efficacy in prosocial behavior. The purpose of the article is to prove that prosocial behavior is largely influenced by emotional self-efficacy, but not by academic self-efficacy only.

The authors of the articles use several theories in organizing their research. The first theory used is Bandura’s self-efficacy theory which states that self-efficacy is “people’s perceptions of their ability to achieve desired goals by applying their knowledge to specific tasks” (Eklund, J., Loeb, C., & Hansen, E. M., 2012, p.31). The second theory is Hastings’s, Rubin’s and DeRose’s theory of prosocial behavior that gives the of this phenomenon as: “sympathetic, helpful and considerate behavior toward other people with the intention of actively establishing and maintaining positive relationships among members of a social group” (Eklund, J., Loeb, C., & Hansen, E. M., 2012, p.32). Besides, the article is also based upon the theory by Batson, who singled out two types of emotions: egocentric and empathic (Eklund, J., Loeb, C., & Hansen, E. M., 2012).

In order to acquire the evidence for the research, the authors used theoretical and survey methods. The article is theory driven, as several theories, related to the topic are used. The authors are trying to prove the truthfulness of these theories and to state their own hypothesis in contrast to these theories. In addition, using survey method that implies gathering descriptive information, the researchers were able to prove or refute the theories used in the article. The questionnaires of the two studies were used among the high school students who were to answer the questions concerning some fictive situations. The study 1 was to access differences in emotional self-efficacy, academic self-efficacy, and prosocial behavior. The second study was aimed at examining the relationship between emotional self-efficacy and prosocial behavior, according to Batson’s theory.

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The authors of the article draw several conclusions, grounding at the research results. First of all, the hypothesis that emotional self-efficacy is more closely connected with prosocial behavior than academic self-efficacy, was not supported. Thus, the results inspired the authors to look for additional explanations and to improve the instruments of research, for they were sure in the fact that prosocial behavior was still greatly influenced by emotional factors. After resorting to Batson’s theory of empathy as the generator of altruist behavior, the researchers concluded, that if including into the survey other-oriented emotional self-efficacy, empathic self-efficacy influences prosocial behavior in a greater way. Consequently, it is concluded that both, academic and emphatic self-efficacy are important for prosocial behavior of the individual. Still, emphatic self-efficacy must be more thoroughly studied by scientists for this notion has long being understated.

The article’s main strength is providing reasonable ideas concerning self-efficacy in general. Self-efficacy is essential in the realm of social interaction and productive communication, for it triggers off a desire to take an active part in the life of the world community. The weakness of the article lies in the fact that still self-efficacy depends upon numerous social factors, and this question must be further investigated.

The article’s potential applications consist in the possibility to inspire for teaching children to improve the level of their emphatic capabilities. Besides, it can be helpful in investigating the ways of improving self-efficacy among young people and adults, as well. Finally, the article can be used in promoting healthy social relationships between individuals.

The Moral Identity and Group Affiliation

The given article by Michael J. Carter expands on the topic of moral identity across people who have different group affiliation. Group affiliation presupposes gender, race, religion, etc. The author’s purpose is to investigate whether the processes of moral identity function similarly or differently in various groups. Besides, the article is aimed to discover whether people who belong to different affiliation groups experience negative emotions in the same way when their self-perception do not coincide with identity standard meanings. In addition, the author seeks to foster theoretical and empirical knowledge about morality.

The article is based upon the identity theory which “conceptualizes behavior as a result of identity verification” (Carter, M. J., 2013, p.2). According to the theory, the goal of the identity process is to control one’s identity by matching self-perception with the identity standard. This verification produces positive emotions, and vice versa. Thus, moral identity is known to control person’s behavior, regardless to their affiliation (gender, race or religion).

The methods used in the given article are known as theoretical and survey methods. Theoretical method is applied as the research is based upon particular theory that helps to establish the hypothesis, which is moral identity discrepancies do not vary according to the group affiliation. Moreover, the research includes various surveys and tests that identify credibility of the theory used. The research data was taken on the basis of the survey arranged for 315 both male and female undergraduate students who belonged to different races and religions.

After investigation the information of the surveys, several conclusions were drawn. To start with, no particular discrepancies in moral identity among different groups were found. In other words, moral identity does not depend upon race, gender or religion. Secondly, emotional reaction to moral behavior of male and female turned out to be alike. For instance, people who possess high moral identity but do not produce moral behavior seem to experience more negative emotions. Lastly, the author of the article concludes, that the moral order exists for everyone. It is clear, that people can have different levels of moral identity, either low or high, but morality functions for all. This means that individuals that gain moral identity prominence behave differently than those who are characterized by not prominent identity. Still, both groups have their own understanding of morality. Moral identity is claimed to have a great influence upon any person’s behavior in different situations, but emotional reactions may be different. 

It is evident, that the given article has both pros and cons. Its main strength consists in the fact, that it is based upon reliable data received in the result of research. The author’s conclusions through a light on the moral identity discrepancies issue across various affiliation groups. This is importance, for earlier moral identity was not considered from this angle, and it was not investigated taking into consideration affiliation groups’ differences. Still, the article does not expand much on moral discrepancies across some other affiliation groups, such as age, socioeconomic status, nationality, etc.

Without any doubt, the article is of great importance for socio-psychologists. It can be applied in studying gender, race and religious differences within society in order to promote tolerance and adequate interaction between citizens. Understanding moral identity can help individuals to overcome difficulties in relationships. Since socio-psychology studies human behavior according to the environment they live in. Consequently, realizing the fact that moral identity emerges from the level of a person’s morality makes it easier to accept people as they are. The article is useful for teaching people to cope with negative emotions they experience as a result of contradictions between their self-perception and identity standards.

The Dark Side of Creativity: Original Thinkers Can be More Dishonest

The article by Francesca Gino and Dan Ariely goes about negative sides of creativity and suggests that a creative mindset may lead to unethical behavior. The purpose of the article is to establish whether there is a positive connection between creativity and dishonesty. Besides, the authors aim at defining whether creativity makes people justify their unethical behavior.

In addition, several theories are used for producing hypothesizes in the article. First of all, the moral credentialing theory by Monin and Miller is applied. It suggests that when people start realizing their own moral behavior, they tend to act immorally, for they consider themselves be worth of earning “moral credits” (Gino, F., & Ariely, D., 2012, p.455). What is more, the article ground at Guilford’ divergent thinking theory and Spiro and Jehng’s cognitive flexibility. Moreover, Thompson’s idea of “thinking without boundaries” develops the notion of divergent thinking thus explaining the ability for developing ideas.

The given research is considered to be organized according to the two main methods: theoretical and survey methods. Theoretical method is used in order to justify the theories mentioned in the article. Survey method used in the given article serves for collecting necessary data that help the researchers to prove or disprove their hypothesis. The authors conducted five laboratory studies in which the participants were to complete online surveys and cope with various tasks for money. Consequently, the results were driven according to such measures as creativity, intelligence and others. The surveys aimed at proving the fact that creativity can induce individuals to act immorally.

The authors conclude that a creative personality and activated creative mindset are apt to justifying their unethical deeds. This increased ability for justifying oneself supports dishonesty. The article suggests that there exists some connection between rationalization and creativity. It is also stated, that creativity can be a driver for cheating, but through examining the role of creativity in human behavior it is easier to understand unethical behavior. One more conclusion drawn from the article is that people, who are connected with creative activities, or work in a sphere where creative mindset is essential, encounter a greater risk when they face various ethical dilemmas.

It is necessary to note, that the article has its strengths and weaknesses. For instance, the article provides a useful sort of information which is based upon the survey results. This means, than except theoretical basis, the article suggests practical grounds which can help people in reality. In other words, the article represents empirical demonstration of the topic. The only weakness of the article is that it did not specifically examined connection between creativity and desire to cheat.

The article provides with useful information that can be applied in various spheres of social life. For example, it is useful in settling friendly relationships within the working staff, in schools and universities. Especially, operating the knowledge about creative people’s mindset helps to gain mutual understanding in circles of musicians, actors, painters, etc. Since creativity is “a common aspiration for individuals, organizations, and societies” (Gino, F., & Ariely, D., 2012, p.445), society cannot avoid facing it in everyday life. Besides, the article is of a great use for families that are actively engaged in creative work, or for spouses whose partners have a creative mindset. Many star families suffer from the problem of misunderstanding and lying on the part of one of the family members. Thus, the article can help to achieve strong relationships in such families.

“I Cheated, but Only a Little”: Partial Confessions to Unethical Behavior

The article by Eyal Peer, Alessandro Acquisti and Shaul Shalvi expands on the topic of partial admitting of cheating which results into emotional decline. The purpose of the article is to determine whether people resort to partial confession in search of justifying themselves and avoiding critics. It also aims at examining to what extent people chose to declare their guilt partially and what are the consequences of this. The authors try to explain why people tend to partial acknowledgement of guilt more than to telling the whole truth.

In order to explain the phenomenon of partial confession the authors used theories by Gneezy, Hilbig, Lundquist and others that suggest that individuals confess partially trying to look trustful for other people, to avoid negative emotions and consequences of their lie. Besides, Sternglanz’s theoretical findings about admitting to a lesser offence are also used in the article. They consist in the fact, that people who try to justify themselves look for particular strategies, such as ignoring the accusation, claiming complete innocence, admitting the quilt only to some extent, etc. (Peer, E., Acquisti, A., & Shalvi, S., 2014).

The article is considered to be a survey research, for the findings are based upon the results of experiments and surveys. In addition, theoretical method is applied because the research is based upon theoretical information, as well. The authors used a forecasting skills survey, situational modeling and questionnaires. The five studies were held and they determined the extent of cheating, the likelihood of confession and the level of negative emotions triggered by partial admitting of one’s guilt.

All in all, the authors of the article have come to several conclusions. First of all, they resumed that people confess partially because of the desire to appear credible in the eyes of the other people. They also concluded that partial admitting of the guilt is considered by people better than not confessing at all. According to the article, partial admission is prevalent in most cases of immoral behavior. It is also concluded, that people who admitted their guilt only partially later were conscience-stricken and regretted that they did not tell the whole truth. This means that telling only a part of truth is worse than a full confession, or even worse than not admitting the guilt at all. One more conclusion is that: “people sometimes restrict their honesty about their dishonesty and engage in partial confessions” (Peer, E., Acquisti, A., & Shalvi, S., 2014, p.213). It was decided, that full confession, even with all the consequences is better that partial. Since a human being is always seeking for acceptance, it is evident that people will tend to justify themselves by partial confession.

To add more, the positive sides of the article are those that it reveals the truth about human nature and expands upon the issue of confession, which often turns out to be only partial. It sheds light upon the reality of human relationships and helps the readers to examine themselves and take a detached view of their own behavior. Nevertheless, the article shows the way people confess in their guilt to experimenters. This is a weakness, because in the real life people confess mostly to their dear or close people, or to people who are prior to them.

Still, the article can be very useful in many spheres of life. It helps psychologists to better understand the nature of lie and human self-protection. The fact that people tend to confess in their misdoings partially shows that they try to defend themselves. This fact is very useful in establishing good relationships in families, at work and within society, in general. Moreover, the article can be applied in the realm of law. Finally, the results can be used in establishing the seriousness of the punishment when a person comes with acknowledgement of his quilt to the court.


  • Carter, M. J. (2013). The Moral Identity and Group Affiliation. Current Research in Social Psychology1(1), 1-13.
  • Eklund, J., Loeb, C., & Hansen, E. M. (2012). Who Cares About Others?: Emphatic Self-Efficacy as an Antecedent to Prosocial Behavior. Current Research in Social Psychology1(1), 31-41.
  • Gino, F., & Ariely, D. (2012). The Dark Side of Creativity: Original Thinkers Can Be More Dishonest. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology102(3), 445-459.
  • Peer, E., Acquisti, A., & Shalvi, S. (2014). “I Cheated, but Only a Little”: Partial Confessions to Unethical Behavior.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology106(2), 202-217.


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