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Social Influence – Helping and Help-Seeking

1. Introduction

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about the topics of helping and help-seeking within social psychology, focusing in particular on: (i) defining helping or ‘prosocial behaviour’ more generally as ‘acts done for the benefit of others’ and consider how common this type of behaviour is; (ii) the importance of thinking about helping as a transaction between two or more people; (iii) highlighting the fact that, to fully understand the psychology of helping, we must examine the circumstances and motivations of the help-seeker or receiver, as well as the help-giver.


In this course, Dr Juliet Wakefield (Nottingham Trent University) explores the social psychology of helping and help-seeking. In the first lecture, we are introduced to the topics of helping and help-seeking. In the second lecture, we think about early research into helping behaviour, with a particular focus on the case of Kitty Genovese and its influence on the development of Darley and Latané’s Bystander Effect theory. In the third lecture, we consider later research into helping behaviour which was informed by Tajfel and Turner’s social identity approach. Next, we move on to think about help-seeking and help-receiving, focusing on the Threat to Self-Esteem Model. In the fifth lecture, we think about the importance of group memberships for helping transactions. In the sixth and final lecture, we conclude on the course with a summary of key points.


Dr Juliet Wakefield is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University. Dr Wakefield is a member of the Groups, Identities, and Health research group and has research interests in the social identity approach and implications of group membership. Some of Dr Wakefield’s recent publications include ‘Communities as conduits of harm: a social identity analysis of appraisal, coping and justice-seeking in response to historic collective victimisation’ (2022) and ‘The link between family identification, loneliness, and symptom severity in people with eating disorders’ (2022).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Wakefield, J. (2020, March 23). Social Influence – Helping and Help-Seeking - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Wakefield, J. "Social Influence – Helping and Help-Seeking – Introduction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 Mar 2020,

Image Credits

"Hubble Space Telescope" by NASA