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    Thread: Altruism in Proverbs (research survey)

    1. #1
      Czar Salad IndieAnthias's Avatar
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      Altruism in Proverbs (research survey)

      Hi guys, I have a bit of a quick favor to ask. I'm collecting a survey for my master's dissertation in evolutionary anthropology at Durham University. I thought I'd set up a version of it to field to this forum.

      It's very short... it says 15-20 minutes on the intro page but honestly nobody's taken even that long to complete it. The task is to read through a selection of proverbs from cultural groups from various parts of the world, and to rate them on a scale of altruistic motivation. (It's really simple, and it will be clearer when you get into it.)

      The theory behind this is a bit strange, but I'd rather not go into it until people have actually taken the survey. If you have any specific questions about the survey itself, ask here and I'll be glad to answer now. After about a week or so, if anybody's interested I can go much deeper into detail about what this is actually about.

      The link to the survey is:
      https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/R9GCCHG

      Thanks, I do appreciate it.

    2. #2
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      dutchraptor's Avatar
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      Done
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    3. #3
      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
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      I didn't find any of those to be altruistic, everything that even appeared altruistic was phrased to remind you that altruism is an investment, not a gift.
      IndieAnthias likes this.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    4. #4
      Czar Salad IndieAnthias's Avatar
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      that's alright.

      I should have said this before but it's probably better to not make comments about the survey that people might read before they take it. No big deal though.
      Last edited by IndieAnthias; 07-14-2012 at 12:06 AM.

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      Done.
      Spoiler for Read after survey:
      IndieAnthias likes this.
      If you have a sense of caring for others, you will manifest a kind of inner strength in spite of your own difficulties and problems. With this strength, your own problems will seem less significant and bothersome to you. By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage, and a greater sense of calm.Dalai Lama



    6. #6
      Czar Salad IndieAnthias's Avatar
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      Spoiler for @Taosaur & Omnis, others please take the survey before reading ;):
      Last edited by IndieAnthias; 07-18-2012 at 11:30 AM.

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      widdershins modality Achievements:
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      BTW, when I don't look closely at your avatar, I see Snoopy. It does look like a pretty great t-shirt, though.
      IndieAnthias likes this.
      If you have a sense of caring for others, you will manifest a kind of inner strength in spite of your own difficulties and problems. With this strength, your own problems will seem less significant and bothersome to you. By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage, and a greater sense of calm.Dalai Lama



    8. #8
      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      You may want break this down into the different motivations for altruism. Is it to build a community support structure, or does it refer to a trust between two people? Is it kin (or intra-religion) altruism? Is it empathy-based? These are important questions for psychologists, and the philosophy of ethics. Don't know how evolutionary anthropologists deal with it, tho. If you're writing a big paper, these subtypes and their discussions should help you flesh it out.

      Or maybe you're already thinking about these things? I dunno.

      Also, it pisses me off that people dismiss altruism as, "not true altruism" for reasons x or y, as if the utility of altruism devalues its meaning to the people involved in the act(s).
      Last edited by Abra; 07-25-2012 at 06:25 PM.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

    9. #9
      Czar Salad IndieAnthias's Avatar
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      The survey's finished, I can talk about this more now.

      @Abra, cool, thanks. I pretty well have my approach established, but that type of thing might fit into my discussion. The main aspect of altruism that I'm concerned with in my field is how it evolved, so that builds on things like game theory and the prisoner's dilemma, Hamilton's rule and inclusive fitness (kin selection), Trivers' reciprocal altruism and multilevel/group selection. All these that I mentioned are theoretical models that try to highlight the conditions that allowed this seemingly paradoxical behavior (helping others at a cost to yourself) to evolve in the first place, and to become so especially prevalent in humans.

      The twist and slightly unusual approach I'm taking is to use proverbs to test predictions from the theoretical models. These have mostly been tested in labs through stimulus manipulation and self-preference-reporting, so to look to real-world output to see if predictions hold up is a fresh approach.

      My hypothesis is very simple, that proverbs will advocate more altruism towards kin than towards non-kin. This may seem obvious but it comes straight from the theoretical models, where non-kin cooperate due to benefits of reciprocal altruism, kin have the additional benefits of inclusive fitness. This hasn't been tested in this way much outside of labs, and oral literature such as folklore and proverbs is at least as good a source for data as doing field studies on real people. Either way you can expect to get more authentic results than you can on a person in a lab who knows they're being studied.

      I picked out the proverbs carefully, there are 30 total, half relate to kin and half relate to non-kin. Additionally, 10 come from Finland, 10 from Japan, and 10 form the Ovambo of southern Africa. So, I can do some cross-cultural analysis as well. I got 61 survey responses, and I got significantly higher altruism ratings for kin proverbs from the Japanese and Ovambo collections, and non-significantly higher for kin in the Finnish collection. (don't ask me what constitutes a non-significant difference... it's a statistics thing.)

      Now all I have to do is run all this through SPSS and write about 10000 words about it by mid September.

    10. #10
      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      That sounds pretty cool, actually
      IndieAnthias likes this.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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