Reasons for Prosocial Behaviour The heroic story of Arland Williams, as described in Hero of the frozen river, is touching and extremely eye opening. This man gave away two chances at survival to save two complete strangers. Safran (1982), the author of this article, describes one of the most significant moments of the rescue: "They aimed one line at the balding man. Once more, he caught it. Did he think then, even briefly, of his own chances for survival?". Different people would probably have taken the rope for themselves, however, various factors could help to explain why Arland Williams was so selfless.
One of the theories that has been brought forth is the inborn tendency which argues that "natural selection favours the genetic transmission of factors that predispose an organism to act prosocially towards other members of its species" (Alcock 1998). It is possible that Williams chose to be so brave and helpful due to a genetic basis.
He was scared of ruining the financial lives of the employees at a troubled bank in Florida. He described this as one of his most difficult cases ever. This demonstrates his caring attitude and difficulty in hurting others. He always displayed optimism and helped anyone he could.
Also, prosocial behaviour and norms could have affected Arland's actions while in the icy water of the Potomac River. Specifically, the "norm of social responsibility prescribes that people should help others who need help, regardless of whether they had helped the potential benefactors or might reciprocate in the future (Alcock, 1998). When the author of the article explains that this man had to realize that his time was running out, his energy growing tired, and hope dimming, one would probably assume that at this point, the man could and would have taken his chance...