Psychology Questions – 25 Points Each

PSYC 103

Organizational Studies/Psychology 103
Take Home Exam 3

Answer Question 1-4 (25 Points Each)
1. Many researchers are concerned about the possible effects that violent video games might have on our society. Some believe that it may have a cathartic effect, while others believe just the opposite. Describe the possible effects as they relate to classic theories (e.g., catharsis and modeling), and discuss research evidence that addresses this question. In relation to this, what does the study by Bandura, Ross, and Ross (1961) demonstrate (besides my liking of bobo dolls)? What implications does this work have for us in the areas of socialization, TV programming, and the marketing of video games?

The affects on children’s behavior from violent video games is a newly, well-researched topic for social psychologists. Violent video games are giving our children the practice and experience needed to act out these aggressive behaviors in the real world. There is a common misconception that playing violent video games are a catharsis, allowing children to release their anger in a non-aggressive manner. Some psychologists even encourage aggressive play as a way to release emotional tension (Myers, 2008, p. 375). But Brad Bushman (2002) notes that “Venting to reduce anger is like using gasoline to put out a fire.” The near consensus among social psychologists is that viewing or participating in violence fails to produce catharsis (Geen and Quanty, 1977).

Alienated, disaffected youths, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, vented their anger to “get famous” by shooting up their school. On April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, these two young men carried out a shooting rampage. They killed twelve fellow students and a teacher, as well as wounding twenty-four others, before committing suicide. It is considered to be the deadliest school shooting, and the second deadliest attack on a school in US History (DeGaetano, 1999). Both of these boys were drowning in a violent pop culture of bloody movies and video games. High on the morning of April 20, 1999, before the massacre, Dylan and Eric filmed their own “back story” videos, explaining their aims and motives. “It’s going to be like f**king Doom!” Harris said on one of the tapes, referring to his favorite shoot-em-up video game. “Tick-tock, tick, tick Ha! Straight out of Doom!” (Steyer, 2002). These two young boys had played this game very often and were so used to the violence of killing innocent people with no remorse. They gained the experience and knowledge from this video game on how to kill other human beings while getting a sense of satisfaction.

A direct link between violent video games and increasing rates of violence among children happened in Paducah, Kentucky. A fourteen-year-old boy, Michael Carneal, steals a gun from a neighbor’s house, brings it to school, and fires eight shots into a student prayer meeting that is breaking up. Prior to stealing the gun, he had never shot a real handgun in his life. The FBI says that the average experienced law enforcement officer, in the average shootout, at an average range of seven yards, hits with approximately one bullet in five. So how many hits did Michael Carneal make? He fired eight shots; he got eight hits, on eight different kids. Five of them were headshots, and the other three were upper torso. The result was three dead and one paralyzed for life. Nowhere in law enforcement or military history can an equivalent achievement be found. And these from a boy on his first try. How did Michael Carneal acquire this kind of killing ability? Simple: practice. At the age of fourteen he had practiced killing thousands of people. His simulators were point-and-shoot video games he played for hundreds of hours in video arcades and in the comfort of his own home. His superhuman accuracy, combined with the fact that he stood still, firing two handed, and firing only one shot at each target, are all behaviors that are completely unnatural to either trained or “native” shooters, behaviors that could only have been learned in a video game. If you do not think these “games” resemble the real thing, you should know that the military and law enforcement communities use video marksmanship training simulators to supplement their training.

As a player in the video game your goal is simply to rack up the highest score as quickly as possible. And, many of the video games (such as “House of the Dead,” “Golden-eye,” or “Turock”) give bonus effects for headshots while in “Grand Theft Auto” you are invited to play a psychopath (Gentile, 2004). These kind of video games provide the “motor reflexes” responsible for over 75% of the firing on the modern battlefield. In addition, they provide violent suggestions and reinforcement for violent behavior. These games teach young people to kill with all the precision of a military training program, but none of the character training that goes along with it (Gerdes, 2004). For children who get the right training at home and who have the ability to distinguish between real and unreal consequences, they are still games. But for children who are especially vulnerable to the lure of violence, they can be far more.

Even more than violent television and movies, violent video games have been shown to increase aggression among those who play them. It seems as if even a brief exposure to these games can temporarily increase one’s aggressiveness. Researchers stated that “Violent video games provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations. New aggression-related scripts can become more and more accessible for use when real-life conflict situations arise” (Steyer, 2002). One study reveals that young men who are habitually aggressive may be especially vulnerable to the aggression-enhancing effects of repeated exposure to violent games (Anderson and Bushman, 2002).

Violent video games have stronger effects on children’s aggression because the games are highly appealing and interactive. The games are reward violent behavior. The more often children rehearse violent acts; the more likely they are to commit them in real life. This was demonstrated by Albert Bandura’s (1977) famous Bobo doll experiment. In 1961 Bandura conducted a controversial experiment known as the Bobo doll experiment, to study patterns of behavior associated with aggression (Myers, 2008, p. 353). Bandura hoped that the experiment would prove that aggression can be explained, at least in part, by social learning theory. Social learning theory is the theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating and by being rewarded and punished for our behaviors. Bandura believed that our behaviors are learned by individuals modeling their own behavior after the actions of others. The experiment was criticized by some on ethical grounds, for training children towards aggression. In this experiment three groups of children saw a film which showed the adult attacking an inflatable doll with a stick. The doll was thrown across the room, sat on, punched and kicked. Bandura provided three alternative endings to the film:
Group A – Saw only the doll being hit.
Group B – Saw the adult being praised and rewarded for hitting the doll.
Group C – Saw the adult being punished for hitting the doll.

When the children had seen the film, they were given the same doll. Bandura observed their behavior which showed that groups A and B imitated the aggressive behavior they had witnessed, while group C were less aggressive. Bandura’s results from the Bobo Doll Experiment changed the course of modern psychology, and were widely credited for helping shift the focus in academic psychology from pure behaviorism to cognitive psychology (Bandura, 1979).

There can be intense psychological effects from playing interactive video games. Recent research has begun to find connections between children’s playing of violent video games and later aggressive behavior. A research review done by the National Coalition on Television Violence found that 9 of 12 research studies on the impact of violent video games on normal children and adolescents reported harmful effects.
Playing violent video games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D or Mortal Combat can increase a person’s aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior both in laboratory settings and in actual life, according to two studies. Furthermore, violent video games may be more harmful than violent television and movies because they are interactive, very engrossing and require the player to identify with the aggressor, say the researchers. Psychologists Anderson, and Bushman (2002) noted that “One study reveals that young men who are habitually aggressive may be especially vulnerable to the aggression-enhancing effects of repeated exposure to violent games. The other study reveals that even a brief exposure to violent video games can temporarily increase aggressive behavior in all types of participants.” The first study involved 227 college students who completed a measure of trait aggressiveness and reported their actual aggressive behaviors (delinquency) in the recent past. They also reported their video game playing habits. “We found that students who reported playing more violent video games in junior and high school engaged in more aggressive behavior,” said lead author Anderson. “We also found that amount of time spent playing video games in the past was associated with lower academic grades in college.” In the second study, 210 college students played either a violent (Wolfenstein 3D) or nonviolent video game (Myst). A short time later, the students who played the violent video game punished an opponent (received a noise blast with varying intensity) for a longer period of time than did students who had played the nonviolent video game. “Violent video games provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations,” said Dr. Anderson. “In the short run, playing a violent video game appears to affect aggression by priming aggressive thoughts. Longer-term effects are likely to be longer lasting as well, as the player learns and practices new aggression-related scripts that can become more and more accessible for use when real-life conflict situations arise.” “One major concern is the active nature of the learning environment of the video game,” say the authors. “This medium is potentially more dangerous than exposure to violent television and movies, which are known to have substantial effects on aggression and violence” (Anderson & Bushman, 2002).
Violent video games can increase aggressive behavior in children and adolescents, both in the short- and long-term, according to an empirical review of the last 20 years of research. These findings are presented at the 113th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Washington, DC. According to researchers Jessica Nicoll, B.A., and Kevin M. Kieffer, Ph.D., of Saint Leo University, youth who played violent video games for a short time experienced an increase in aggressive behavior following the video game. One study showed participants who played a violent game for less than 10 minutes rate themselves with aggressive traits and aggressive actions shortly after playing. In another study of over 600 8th and 9th graders, the children who spent more time playing violent video games were rated by their teachers as more hostile than other children in the study. The children who played more violent video games had more arguments with authority figures and were more likely to be involved in physical altercations with other students. They also performed more poorly on academic tasks. Violent video game players “tend to imitate the moves that they just ‘acted out’ in the game they played,” said Dr. Kieffer. For example, children who played violent karate games duplicated this type of behavior while playing with friends. These findings demonstrate the possible dangers associated with playing this type of video game over and over again. The authors also found that boys tend to play video games for longer periods of time than girls. Boys may play more of these types of video games, said Kieffer, because women are portrayed in subordinate roles and the girls may find less incentive to play. But those girls who did play violent video games, according to the review, were more likely to prefer playing with an aggressive toy and were more aggressive when playing.

The observational studies looking at children’s free play, tended to show that children become more aggressive after either playing or observing a violent video game. The children have increased heart rate and their blood pressure rises and they have an increase in both aggressive feelings and behaviors (Myers, 2008, p. 369). At a theoretical level, these evidences suggest empirical data supporting the social learning theory. When age was look at it was discovered that age played no significant part in determining if a player was affected by the content of video games or not. The difference of age showed up in the manifestation of its affect. Violent video games are giving our children the practice and experience needed to act out these aggressive behaviors in the real world (Bartholow & others, 2005).

The social learning approach suggests controlling aggression can by done by counteracting the factors that provoke it; by reducing averse stimulation, by rewarding and modeling nonaggression, and by eliciting reactions incompatible with aggression (Myers, 2008, p. 378). Stanford University used 18 classroom lessons to persuade children to reduce their TV watching and violent video game playing by a third. Their aggressive behavior dropped 25 percent compared with children in a control school (Robinson & others, 2001). In short we should not play them ourselves and we should not allow our children to play them. There are so many better alternatives for free time than violent video games.

2. What factors determine attraction and do they change over time in a relationship? Discuss the variables that psychologists have studied, and state why each might be important in determining interpersonal attraction. What possible personal, temporal, and situational variables moderate the effects of these factors? What difficulties and limitations to these studies possess? (Bonus Question for 5 points: How are liking and loving related? Are they quantitatively or qualitatively different?)

There are four different factors that cause an attraction, which are proximity, physical attractiveness, a similarity between each attitudes and beliefs they hold, and reciprocal liking.
Living near someone is likely to encourage attraction. Despite the prevalence of online social networks, it is difficult to form a relationship with someone who is not physically nearby. But research conducted by Moreland and Zajonc (1982), demonstrates single people are also more likely to date and marry someone with whom they share proximity. Whether in class, at church, or at the gym, people are likely to be attracted to others they see regularly.

Individuals who are near are certainly more available, but studies by Moreland and Beach (1992) show repeated exposure to new stimuli increases the chances they are liked, a phenomenon known as the mere exposure effect. Lisa DeBruine’s (2004) study demonstrated people even show a preference for faces that are similar to their own, rating faces with their own features morphed into them as more attractive than others that did not share their features. Evolutionarily speaking, what is familiar is likely to be safe. Attraction to those who were near served an adaptive purpose for our ancestors as foreign stimuli was more likely dangerous.

Physical attractiveness is a key element of attraction, despite many people claiming physical features do not play a part in whom they choose as a mate. Belot and Francesconi (2006) show physical attraction influences first impressions and seems to be the most important determinant in whether two people on a first date will like each other.
Attractive people enjoy the benefit of being perceived healthier and happier. Research by Cash and Janda (1984) concludes attractive people are also more likely to have higher incomes and enjoy more occupational success. People of a certain level of attractiveness seem to date and marry another of the same level of attractiveness, an idea called the matching hypothesis. Couples of similar attractiveness are perceived to be generally happier and more satisfied than couples of differing levels of attractiveness (Myers, 2008).

Men across cultures rate women as more attractive if they have a youthful look. Men prefer youthful features because they signify reproductive capacity (Buss, 1989). Women tend to be attracted to men who appear healthy, especially if they are perceived as mature, affluent, and dominant. Women also prefer a male hip to waist ratio suggesting health and vigor, and during ovulation they show heightened preference for men with masculinized features. These preferences are rooted in evolution. For men, youthfulness would indicate fertility, while women are attracted to traits that would create a resourceful mate who would remain with her to protect and support their offspring (Gangestad and Simpson, 2000).

Popular sayings suggest that “opposites attract,” but studies by Byrne (1971) show that couples actually do share many similar interests. People tend to be in relationships with individuals who are similar in age and social class. Men and women also tend to be similar to their mates in race, religion, educational attainment, attitudes, values, and intelligence. Research indicates the more alike people are, the longer their liking will last (Byrne, 1971). People also tend to like political candidates who have similar personality traits perceived in themselves (Caprara et al., 2007).

Men and women tend to like individuals who like them in return, an idea called reciprocal liking. The reward theory of attraction takes a more economical approach. The reward theory states people will like someone as long as the benefit received from liking them is greater than the cost. A relationship will form so long as the rewards are greater than the costs.
Though there are many ideas of how attraction is created, science and psychological research indicates attraction primarily consists of proximity, physical attractiveness, similarity and reciprocal liking. Now after these four factors come in to play, eventually attraction overtime turns into love. Love consists of two different types; temporary passionate love and a more enduring companionate love (Myers, 2008, p. 385). Passionate love is “an aroused state of intense positive absorption in another, usually present at the beginning of a love relationship,” and compassionate love is “the deep affectionate attachment we feel for those whit whom our lives are intertwined.” Love expresses the equality between each person and complete disclosure of one’s self to the other, complete trust (Myers, 2008, p. 390).

Interpersonal attraction is increased by physical proximity (nearness), frequent contact, physical attractiveness, competence, and similarity. A large degree of similarity on many dimensions is characteristic of mate selection Self-disclosure occurs more when two people like one another. Self-disclosure follows a reciprocity norm: Low levels of self-disclosure are met with low levels in return, whereas moderate self-disclosure elicits more personal replies. However, overdisclosure tends to inhibit self-disclosure by others.

According to social exchange theory, we tend to maintain relationships that are profitable – that is, those for which perceived rewards exceed perceived costs.

Romantic love has been studied as a special kind of attitude. Love can be distinguished from liking by the use of attitude scales. Dating couples like and love their partners but only like their friends. Love is also associated with greater mutual absorption between people. Adult love relationships tend to mirror patterns of emotional attachment observed in infancy and early childhood. Secure, avoidant, and ambivalent patterns can be defined on the basis of how a person approaches romantic and affectionate relationships with others. Evolutionary psychology attributes human mating patterns to the differing reproductive challenges faced by men and women since the dawn of time.

3. What factors go into our decision to help others or to behave in an altruistic fashion? Discuss and contrast social exchange and evolutionary views of helping. Describe Latané and Darley’s decision tree, and use it to illustrate situational and personal influence. If you fall down at the mall while shopping for fireworks, what actions should you take to increase the likelihood of bystander intervention?

Altruism is a subcategory of helping behavior, and refers to an act that is motivated by the desire to benefit another rather than oneself (Batson & Coke, 1981; Berkowitz, 1970). The main issue with determining whether a helping act is truly altruistic is one of motivation; if we cannot determine whether an act stems from a desire to benefit others or some kind of ulterior motive, altruism is difficult to demonstrate (Rushton & Sorrentino, 1981). The Empathy-Altruism hypothesis, rejects the claim that no behavior is ‘really’ altruistic. There are opposing theories of egoism such as negative state relief, reciprocity and social responsibility, and Latané and Darley’s decision tree also factors in.
Gaertner and Dovidio (1977) commented that it is likely that empathy motivates us to help others. Batson, Duncan, Ackerman, Buckley and Birch (1981) developed this by suggesting that feeling empathy for a person in need is an important motivator of helping and hypothesized that this motivation might be truly altruistic. Batson et al. (1981) experimentally tested this hypothesis by having subjects watch another person receive electric shocks and then giving the subject the chance to help by taking the remaining shocks themselves The experiment concluded that empathic emotion does evoke altruistic motivation to see another’s need reduced. This empathy-altruism hypothesis had significant theoretical implications because it contradicted the more widely accepted theories of egoism, which are built on the assumption that everything we do is ultimately directed toward the end-state goal of benefiting ourselves (Batson et al. 1981).

Latané and Darley’s decision tree outlines a path that a person will follow before they decide whether or not to help someone. The first step is ‘Notice the incident?’, if it is a ‘No’ then no help will be given. As we discussed in class the example of the seminary students going off to give a sermon on the the Good Samaritan sometimes jumped over a person in distress not noticing them because they thought that they were late (Darley and Batson, 1973). If it is a ‘Yes’ you continue up the tree. The second step is ‘Interpret as emergency?’, we might see someone laying in the street but if we think they are sleeping or drunk we will not stop and call for help. If it is a ‘No’ then no help is given, if it is a ‘Yes’ then take the next step up the tree. The third step is ‘Assume Responsibility?’, if this is a ‘No’ then no help will be given. As demonstrated in the Latané and Darley experiment where they pushed smoke into a room with a person working alone they reported the smoke quicker than when there was a group of three working in the same room. No one wanted to take responsibility hoping or assuming one of the others would (Latané and Darley, 1970). If the answer to assume responsibility is a ‘Yes’ then help will finally be given after going through all the steps on the decision tree.
The empathy-altruism hypothesis comments that motivation for helping may be a mixture of altruism and egoism (Batson et al. 1981). Batson, Early and Salvarini, (1997) developed on this idea with their study that showed imagining how another feels produces empathy (leading to altruistic motivation), while actively imagining how you would feel produces both empathy and self-orientated distress (leading to mixture of altruistic and egotistic motivations). For example, if we help a drunk on the street because we understand how they feel, the behavior is altruistic, but if we also imagine how we might feel, the behavior is not ‘really’ altruistic. It therefore depends on the perspective of the person offering help, as to whether or not the behavior is ‘really’ altruistic.
The first of the egoistic theories that challenges the altruism notion is Cialdini’s negative-state relief model (Cialdini, Baumann, & Kenrick, 1981). It suggests that individuals who experience empathy when witnessing another person’s suffering are in a negative affective state (one of temporary sadness or sorrow) and that these individuals help in order to relieve this negative state. Cialdini argued that his experiments in 1987 supported this egoistic (negative-state relief model) interpretation over a selfless (empathy-altruism model) interpretation of helping behavior. As a counter to this, Batson et al. (1981) argue that if personal gain (e.g. feelings of personal satisfaction or relief) is an unintended by-product and not the goal of the behavior, then the behavior is ‘really’ altruistic.

Another egoistic theory is one aspect of the social learning theory; from early childhood we are exposed to helping models and are taught social norms. Two social norms particularly relevant to the motivation of helping behaviors are reciprocity and social responsibility (Berkowitz, 1972). As an example, a helping behavior may be motivated by a desire for favorable treatment from another in the future (reciprocity), or they may feel a social obligation to help because they have learnt to help others in distress (social responsibility). As with the negative-state relief model, this theory suggests that helping behavior is not motivated purely by the desire to benefit others, and as such is not ‘really’ altruistic. Reciprocity as a social norm should not be confused with ‘reciprocal altruism’ theory, which ultimately involves a reciprocal element even though the initial altruistic act was to one’s expense (Trivers, 1971).

Piliavin (1981) suggests that a series of calculations are made prior to any act of helping behavior by a bystander; culminating in an evaluation of the cost of helping versus the cost of not helping. By inference, if there is a cost associated with not helping, no bystander behavior can be called ‘really’ altruistic in view of this model. This model has a strong flavor of Social Exchange Theory (Myers, 2008, p. 429), which argues that we assess costs and benefits before deciding to help. For example, even if you act to help at cost to yourself, your action was a selfish one because you weighed up the cost before acting. It could be argued that both these theories can be applied to any situation if one were to analyze it enough, in effect these theories are self-fulfilling.
The main issue with determining whether a helping act is truly altruistic is one of motivation. Although neither theory takes into account issues such as personality traits, cultural or religious values, the opposing theories of empathy-altruism hypothesis and egoism both produce convincing accounts and consistent experimental evidence to support their own claims. Based on these claims, I believe that helping behavior is a combination of altruistic and egoistic motivation because even though we may act in a selfless manner, at a subconscious level we could be driven by egoistic motivation. We want to feel better by helping someone and to remove feelings of guilt. Dovidio et al. (1990) investigated altruistic versus egoistic interpretation of empathic concern on helping and concluded with “An important step in resolving the current theoretical debate concerning the existence of altruism may involve reaching common methodological ground”.

If you did happen to fall down while shopping for fireworks one way you can increase your chances is to call out for help specifically to a single-person. “You in the blue shirt, call 911, I broke my ankle!” People are more likely to assume responsibility when the request is made directly to them (Darley and Latané, 1968). Also making the request to someone who looks similar to yourself or is wearing the same team jersey as you can also help increase your chances of receiving aid as Levine, Prosser and Evans (2005) demonstrated with their in-group experiments of English soccer fans.

4. What are the prisoners’ dilemma and the tragedy of the commons, and how do these dilemmas help social scientists understand conflict? As experimental simulations, are they applicable to human behavior in general? Discuss the ways that we can resolve the social dilemmas, and present the method that you feel is most effective (be sure to fully justify your choice).

The Prisoner’s Dilemma game is a type of game in which two players can “cooperate” or “betray” the other player. The example in Myers textbook is two prisoner’s are questioned separately. If prisoner A confesses and prisoner B doesn’t, the DA will grant immunity to A and convict B of a maximum sentence (and vice-versa if B confesses and A doesn’t). If both confess, each will receive a moderate sentence. If neither confesses, each will be given a light sentence (Myers, 2008, p. 469). But how does one prisoner trust that the other will not betray him?

Garret Hardin (1968) developed a social dilemma involving more than two parties called the Tragedy of the Commons. Hardin explains that “commons” are resources shared by the society as a whole with access to that “commons” without restrictions. Those are resources with maximum capacity and limit to support its usage. In his example on the herdsman, Hardin demonstrated the irrational behavior and unethical thinking of an individual for his own advantage to increase his demands on the commons. The result of this absurdity in behavior and unethical thinking maximized the capacity and consumption limit of that “commons” thus everyone who have access to that “commons” equally shared the harmful affect the “Tragedy to the Commons”. In applying this to human behavior in general, Hardin, claims that “human problems” have classes and cannot be resolved through science and technology, instead it will just generate another problem.

We could apply the “Tragedy of the Commons” to national parks and pollution. National Parks are open for everyone without limitation such as the “Yosemite Valley”. As population grows, the park gets crowded and the enjoyment the visitors previously experienced started to degrade thus devalue the importance and significance of the park itself. Hardin had mentioned several options to treat the park as commons to bring back its value and significance to the people as their national park. To mention one was to keep it public property but allocate the right to enter them which obviously will cause conflict to those taxpayers accessing the park and contributed to its construction. The options Hardin had mentioned needs to be given attention to maintain and protect the National Park from exploitation.

According to Hardin (1968) pollution was another aspect of the “Tragedy of the Commons”. Pollution affects the air we breathe and the water that surrounds us. Such as waste and toxic chemicals, oil spills, dumpster. Humans often times failed to recognized the responsibility of preventing pollution and maintaining the air we breathe. This is unpreventable as much as it is uncontrollable. After all this is a “free enterprise”. The irresponsible thinking of a tax payer that disposing his waste is cheaper than cleaning them makes this problem unpreventable and uncontrollable. Maybe the tax payer has a different perspective than what the law imposed. Passing a law or coercive action such as penalty and prohibition is the only solution.

As we all know, the ocean’s resources are becoming limited as humans continue to treat the oceans as commons and continue to exploit it. According to Hardin they still stick to the philosophy of the commons “freedom of the seas” and continued to catch vast amount of fish to their own advantage regardless of the fact that some of the marine species are now endangered and overtime will become “extinct” (Hardin, 1968). In this article Hardin applied the theory of the “Tragedy of the Commons” to “the growth of the population” and its effects on the earths limited resources. He claimed technology cannot resolve this problem. It is the participation and cooperation by the society as a whole (people and the government) and not just by the individual itself alone. To achieve positive results means giving up something you enjoy or minimizing the usage. People refuse to give up something they enjoy for the success of the whole. He described the ruinous result of the misguided use of ethics and ignoring the ethics that lies in the word “freedom” as in “freedom of the commons”.
According to Hardin the rapid of the growth of population if not controlled will result in “population exploitation”. This will have negative impacts on the earth’s natural resources such as water, energy and food and will occupy every inch of the earth’s space. To add to this, it can result in famine, poverty, unemployment, inequalities, and deviance which could result in war. Poverty will result in famine and deviance will result in war, and both will result in death. According to Hardin the continued growth in population will crash the system which supports the whole nation. Although unavoidable, non-endless growth is a threat to the nation. It is the result of the individual’s misguided practice of moral principles and techniques. The only way it can be corrected and prevented is the application of social, biological and political theories.
Hardin was a bit of an old codger. According to him, “Freedom to Breed is Intolerable”. Humans who consciously reproduce to gain benefit to its own interest (expand family tree to the next generation, to take advantage of tax breaks or social welfare) but lack they resources to feed them brought additional misery to the nation especially if these children will vanish from the face of the earth because of starvation. According to Hardin, this will be the chastisement for “over breeding” as they did it to themselves. Ignoring this problem will result in misery. Today the present population is the most difficult and moral problem facing the world. Hardin explains that our society is committed totally to a welfare state which faces another part of the tragedy of the commons if aggravated.

The earth is “finite” and everything that surrounds it is finite. To name a few are biological resources and fuels. Public or private land will eventually become commons with the growth in the population. The continued growth of the population will exploit the environment. Population is exceeding the land and the earth’s resources. Per Hardin, those who maximize their material consumption contributes to the increase exploitation of the commons” and everyone who takes away resources from all other living things on earth. Deforestation, global warming, over-fishing, population exploitation, “ozone depletion” are all national issues. They are the result of human’s irrational and misguided or mistaken use of ethics which became the “Tragedy of the Commons” (Hardin 1968).

Hardin (1968) finally noted that the simple way to analyze and justify the problem of human populations is “under the condition of low-population density”. As population increase it generates another issue which diverts our attention to another aspect, thus abandoning the commons. There are aspects of the commons that needs more attention. Although some restrictions were already imposed, some still awaits for completion. According to Hardin we still have a long way to go from legalizing the commons in the issue of pleasure such as propagation of sound waves in public places which according to Hardin (1968) “pollution of advertising”.

According to Hardin (1968) we need to recognize the most significant aspect of necessity, the “necessity of abandoning the commons in breeding”. If ignored, “freedom to breed” will bring disaster. While there are no solutions to this problem yet, Hardin opposed the idea of an attempt to advertise the use of conscience and apply responsible parenthood. According to Hardin in the long run it will result in anxiety. Touching the subject of commons always involves violation of someone’s personal freedom. These are violations that are strongly opposed; “”cries” for rights and “freedom””. While bank robbers were persecuted, these people sheltered into the logic of the commons have freedom to bring universal disaster and free to pursue other goals once they see the necessity of mutual coercion (Hardin 1968). “Freedom is the recognition of necessity” (Hegel).

“The only way we can preserve and nurture other and more precious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed”, and that very soon” (Hardin 1968), “Freedom is the recognition of necessity” (Hegel). To put an end to this “education must reveal to all the necessity of abandoning the freedom to breed” (Hardin).
Each of these situations are a social trap, a situation in which conflicting parties, by each rationally pursuing its self-interest, become caught in mutually destructive behavior (Myers, 2008, p. 469). The way to solve them is to remove the competition, ‘why do we care who wins’, is a great philosophy to live by. We can change competition and conflict into contact, cooperation, communication and conciliation to transform hostility into harmony (Myers, 2008, p. 504).


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