Pay It Forward Paper

Pay It Forward
Capstone Course in Psychology
PSY 490
October 15, 2012
Stephanie J. Towns

Pay It Forward
The author had the pleasure of volunteering for a fall festival event at her son’s elementary school. Although volunteering was in part because the school could not find volunteers, and the need for assignment requirements, the author felt a sense of goodness and pleasure from the act. Because the author possessed some self-interest the act may be seen as egoism, or social responsibility (Clark, 2005). However, without volunteers the students would not have the opportunity to attend the family-fun event. The volunteers provide a benefit to the students and families without expecting social or material reward (Clark, 2005). The author regularly volunteers for the school events and will continue to provide her services where and when needed.
Altruism, Personal, and Professional Social Responsibility, and Codependency
Pure altruism is voluntary helping behavior, beneficial to someone else, and motivation derives from something other than a return of any type (Clark, 2005; Trivers, 1971). Altruistic acts are uncommon, and some will argue if they exist (Trivers, 1971). Personal and professional responsibilities are acts benefiting society (Clark, 2005). Through social responsibility individuals help those dependent upon society through a sense of moral obligation (Clark, 2005). Social responsibility is relatively common but often lacks authentic care (Clark, 2005). Codependency is behavior concerning individuals who help because of moral obligations to others as well as a personal inability to tolerate negative effects (Oakley, Knafo, Madhaven, & Wilson, 2011). Some view codependency as a form of pathological altruism, while others argue if it exists (Oakley, et. al., 2011). The author’s act of volunteerism at the school event arose from personal social responsibility; a moral obligation to help (Clark, 2005).

Applying Altruism to Psychology or...