Many human relationships are established on mutual understandings or interests which govern current and future interactions. The parties involved in a relationship expect fairness and equal treatment, though this is often not the case. Human actions are influenced by prosocial intuitions which are based on anticipated benefit or outcome from a presenting situation. Answering the questions of why people form affiliations, respond by helping out or react in a particular manner all requires an analysis of the motives held by human beings.
According to Chadee, in the equality theory, no party should over-benefit or under-benefit given their investment in the relationship (2011). However, individuals tend to invest in relationships in which the outcomes exceed the cost, which might disregard the social exchange theories of fairness. In the same light, Mark Leary et al. (2015) explains that unfairness in relationships may stem from triggered displaced aggression or cumulative stress. These factors also help one to understand why some individuals react overly when they feel that the social exchange rule has been violated. The disproportionate response might stem from the perceived effect of a particular and the desire to avoid negative outcomes, whether presently or in the future.
In regard to social relations, Kasin, examines several factors that influence human tendencies to like or repel another person. There is the physical attractiveness aspect whereby an individual is prone to form close relationships with someone they find attractive as opposed to someone who is not (Kasin, 2017). The need for affiliation fuels the desire to connect with other people and form close ties which are important. A further understanding of the cost-rewards system influences the social contact we have with others (Kasin et al, 2017). The anticipation of benefits gained from a relationship influences one’s actions and behavior towards maintaining the relationship. However, people need periods of solitude to engage in personal activities although such behavior should not result from rejection or being ostracized (Kasin et al, 2017). Furthermore, human interaction occurs in various forms whether face to face or through online platform, with recent studies showing increase use of online dating platforms to meet suitable partners (Rosenfeld & Thomas, 2012). In addition, social interactions require that people respect social exchange rules in their conversations and actions as well as having control over their emotions.
Human beings respond differently to situations such as when someone needs helps or when a comment made in a conversation angers them. In chapter 10, Kasin delves into the factors that influence human action in cases where they are expected to help (Kasin et al.2017). The debate on whether humans are egoistic or altruistic is posed with various perspectives given as explanation. The evolutionary perspective indicates that people are more likely to help when it preserves individual genes that are likely to be passed on to close kin. This supports an egoistic nature but contradicts the altruism sense that is in most individuals (Gintis, Bowles, Boyd, & Fehr, 2007). Some people help since they expect the action to be reciprocated in the future while others are genuinely empathetic to the presenting situation requiring help. The prosocial intuitions to help in human beings are further expounded on by Rand et al. (2016) in the study that identifies gender role identification as an influence on altruism. The findings sum up the feminine nature as contributing factor to altruistic giving through intuition relative to deliberation thus responding to the questions of what motivates humans to help.
Evidently, human behavior is influenced by various factors which explain the actions one takes in different situations. The need to self-preserve or win affiliation may cause people to either help or dismiss a cry for help. Therefore, understanding the theories of equality and fairness enables one to comfortably engage in social settings while regarding the feelings of other people.
Chadee, D. (2011). Evaluating Fairness: Critical Assessment of Equity Theory. In Theories in social psychology (1st ed.).
Gintis, H., Bowles, S., Boyd, R., & Fehr, E. (2007). Explaining altruistic behavior in humans. Oxford Handbooks Online, 24(3), 153-172. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198568308.013.0042
Kassin, S., Fein, S., & Markus, H. R. (2017). Attractions and close relationships. In Social Psychology (10th ed., pp. 338-389).
Kassin, S., Fein, S., & Markus, H. R. (2017). Helping Others. In Social Psychology (10th ed., pp. 390-431).
Rand, D. G., Brescoll, V. L., Capraro, V., Barcelo, H., & Everett, J. A. (2016). Supplemental Material for Social Heuristics and Social Roles: Intuition Favors Altruism for Women but Not for Men. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 1-12. doi: 10.1037/xge0000154.supp
Rosenfeld, M. J., & Thomas, R. J. (2012). Searching for a Mate: The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary. American Sociological Review, 77(4), 523-547. doi:10.1177/0003122412448050