The Altruism-Empathy-Perspective Connection: A Case Study of Human-Wildlife Interactions at Chintimini Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Corvallis, Oregon Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/6395w9036

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  • In the realms of psychology and sociology two new theoretical models have arisen to describe the forces influencing altruistic human behavior. The first is the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis (EAH), by C.D. Batson. The second is the Conceptual Continuum of Altruism (CCA), by K.R. Monroe. Both models have proven to be highly useful in the study of altruistic behavior between human beings. However, to date, no investigations of altruistic human behavior towards other species have been conducted using these methodologies. Using a synthesis of both the EAH and CCA models, in conjunction with the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) scaled questionnaire, the CWRC study evaluated the prediction that positive correlations would exist between the level of altruistic behavior exhibited by wildlife rescuers, the degree of empathy they demonstrated towards the wildlife they rescued, and their association with a worldview supportive of this empathic response. The CWRC study generated a unique demographic data set for wildlife rescuers (n=407), as well as interview transcripts (n=40). Quantitative and qualitative data revealed unique positive correlations existed between the level of altruistic behavior display by wildlife rescuers, the degree of empathic response they exhibited, and the strength of their association with a worldview supportive of this empathic response.
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