Social Psychology: Helping, Hurting, and Conforming

Topic: Applied Psychology
Words: 1092 Pages: 4
Table of Contents


Social psychology refers to the scientific study of how an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by real, imagined, actual, and implied availability. Imagined and implied presences refer to the social norms that are internalized in humans. Helping behavior is a concept of social psychology that believes that individuals voluntarily assist other people without regard as to whether the gift is expected in return or not. Helping behavior means giving help and benefits to others without necessarily expecting any compensation (Klar & Bilewicz, 2017). The helpers’ motives do not matter as long as the recipient receives the necessary assistance. This is different from the more general term prosocial behavior. Prosocial behavior includes cooperative or friendly behavior when individuals are interacting with one another. It is also different from the more specific term altruistic behavior, which requires motivation to help others primarily for the benefit of others or even at the expense of oneself.


It is unusual for a person to live their life without the help of others. Most people, at least temporarily, experience illnesses, car breakdowns, or other problems that require the assistance of others, and many are urgent or individuals who need much help. Experience a tragedy. Understanding emergency response behavior helps researchers predict who assists in what situations more accurately. Community-building efforts can increase the timeliness and usefulness of the support provided and guide those needing the right services. Fostering usefulness is beneficial to individuals, families, and communities (Walters, 2020). When the community is ready to help, help is there when all community members need it.

Besides, people help others for various reasons, such as the norm of reciprocity that is created by society. The norm of reciprocity refers to how individuals help other humans since they expect similar treatment in return. Individuals who have previously received assistance from others are always indebted to extend the same gesture to those who helped them. The helping behavior emanates from individuals who need to relieve themselves from the emotional arousal brought by significant circumstances in which assistance is needed. Moreover, people help others through the influence of helping others without expecting anything in return. People use empathy to help individuals who they do not expect to help in return.

Empathy is the ability of individuals to place themselves in other people’s shoes and try to understand what other humans are feeling. When people are empathic towards others, they feel the need to help and relieve them from the suffering they are experiencing. Also, empathy concerns emotions among individuals when they see other people in need (Klar & Bilewicz, 2017). Social responsibility is a feeling that is obligated to behave in ways beneficial to society. With this, the individuals are responsible for fulfilling the balance in their surroundings. Individuals may do this activity by giving charity money to the NGOs and children’s homes. Therefore, helping people in need is an excellent way of showing humanity in society.

However, the social hurt that individuals experience results from interpersonal loss and rejection from a social group or someone they loved. Studies have proven that social pain results in activating specific components in the physical pain systems. Also, social hurt among individuals is caused by significant events such as death, bullying, and sickness. Social pain activates the brain circuits of humans whether they are personally suffering or if they are experiencing chronic hurt as an empathic response to another individual’s social pain.

Therefore, no one on earth is exempt from being deeply hurt by others. Seriously injured people often hurt others and repeat attacks. People who act from pain in one place hurt another. The underlying factor is that they usually do not love themselves enough. They have a deep longing for love and a desire to belong. Besides, individuals hurt others for various reasons, such as low empathy. Most people have little compassion for others. It is difficult for them to walk in other people’s shoes, and they cannot see the other individual’s point of view (Walters, 2020). They are unaware that they are harming others and do not know that it is reckless not to answer a phone call about a sick loved one or cause severe injuries if they do not meet. What may hurt others may not hurt them, and they have a hard time identifying in another experience.

Moreover, when people do not like themselves, matter how well they look at themselves, they probably project their self-loathing to others. In particular, if this self-loathing is based on the abusive behavior they have experienced in the past, they will behave harmfully to their loved ones and recreate their living experiences. They can hurt individuals as they hurt, stumble them, and be driven by the desire to cause you pain as they did. Furthermore, some people enjoy the process of hurting others. Again, this usually comes from a profoundly confusing childhood and potentially abusive childhood (Porck et al., 2020). Individuals can play what happened in their own life-this time with those hurting as the culprit-and they may experience the thrill when they hurt others. Dealing with their pain is a distraction from their pain, a way to compensate for what happened to them, and something meaningful to them in the light of their experience.

However, social conformity refers to aligning their behavior with people they want to gain acceptance and security. In most cases, the social agreement involves changing human attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs to fit in the norms of a specific social group. Social norms refer to particular rules and regulations that members of a specific group share and that guide their interactions. When individuals conform to other people’s beliefs and behaviors, they lose their identity. Each individual is different from others, and therefore, they should conform to other people’s opinions and behaviors. People fit due to pressure from the social group.


Normative social impact encourages people to adapt to the expectations of others. Individuals succumb to peer pressure to comply with the majority to gain acceptance, avoid disapproval, and achieve personal goals. The decision to comply is usually accompanied by a vital element of refusal (Walters, 2020). Also, the pressure to be correct always influences individuals to conform to what is being said. When people’s beliefs are challenged and proved wrong, it motivates them to change. The person feels lacking proper knowledge and succumbs to the information received from the group. Keep in mind that this is related to the accuracy of the data and can be done under the influence of the majority or minority.


Klar, Y., & Bilewicz, M. (2017). From socially motivated lay historians to lay censors: Epistemic conformity and defensive group identification. Memory Studies, 10(3), 334-346. Web.

Porck, J. P., van Knippenberg, D., Tarakci, M., Ateş, N. Y., Groenen, P. J., & de Haas, M. (2020). Do group and organizational identification help or hurt intergroup strategic consensus? Journal of Management, 46(2), 234-260. Web.

Walters, S. (2020). Interacting with others: Helping, hurting, and conforming. Psychology-1st Canadian Edition. Web.

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