Prosocial Behavior could Assist People in Dealing with Setbacks of Weight Control.

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This research selected, involved studying the effects of various methods of controlling body weight with regard to people experiencing setbacks in their pursuit to lose weight and their effectiveness. The researchers divided a group of people who had attempted to reduce their weight in the previous year into three groups (Burnette & Finkel, 2012). Two groups were subjected to two different methods of weight control while one group was used as the control group. They then compared the results of the methods after 12 weeks.

The type of study, where various factors are tested and the results compared is known as an experimental study. The main purpose of this study was to determine which of the two methods of weight control, incremental beliefs and knowledge-based approach, are the most effective in controlling the weight of people who have faced setbacks in their attempt or whether they were both ineffective (Burnette & Finkel, 2012). The results indicated that the two methods were both effective in controlling body weight and restoring the confidence of the people who had faced setbacks.

Enhancement to the external validity of the study.

The study proves that incremental beliefs could offer a solution to individuals who face setbacks in their pursuit to reduce their weight. It is believed that if a person believes that weight is changeable, they are more likely to stick to their weight loss regimine, than individuals who believe that weight is fixed and that they do not have control over it. This theory can be applied in other areas of life as well. People who have experienced setbacks are in danger of giving up on their pursuit. For instance, it can be used in academics to assist learners who have attained low grades believe that low grades can be changed. These research findings can, therefore, be generalized in most situations where people face a threat of giving up after setbacks.

Ethical concerns of the study

Some ethical concerns are present with this study because the study group was not informed that were being used for experimentation. The ethical theory of informed consent requires that before conducting any studies about the health of an individual, they should grant permission. Resnik, D. (2015). In the above case, each group of the study should have been informed about the study that was being undertaken and the possible effects of the conditions they were subjected to. The theory requires that it should then be left to the individuals to decide whether they want to participate in the study or not (Reiss, 2014). Lack of permission of the participant, therefore, raises ethical concerns about the study.

Prosocial behavior could assist people in dealing with setbacks of weight control.

Prosocial behavior involves an individual or a group assisting without expecting anything in return. Resnik, D. (2015). In the above case, a group could come up to assist the individuals facing setbacks to adapt the two methods of weight control. For instance, there could be a group educating such individuals that weight is controllable. This could instill the belief that they could control their weight hence motivating them to stick to their control measures. There could also be a knowledge-based group that could assist people to know what measures have to be taken to control their body weight. This could include the diet and exercise to be undertaken by these individuals.

The theory of prosocial behavior 

This chapter has attempted to explain the origin of prosocial behavior in humans. They have based on the evolutionary psychology of genes and instincts. Charles Darwin found out that individuals who have desirable characteristics have high chances of survival and, therefore, passing on the gene to their offspring. Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Sommers, S. (2016). The desirable characteristic, in this case, is the willingness to assist without expecting anything in return. The book tries to explain why people at the World Trade Center sacrificed their lives to save strangers.

The explanation that could fit this case could be group selection theory. This theory states that nature favors individuals who act in the interest of a group. For instance, two neighboring villages who are ready to sacrifice to save each other have high survival probability than villages who act on selfish grounds. For the case in which individuals volunteer to help others lose weight, it could be explained using the same theory. These are people who are group-oriented, and they would be happy to see others achieve their goals. They could, therefore, assist other people to lose weight so that they could all be happy.

Personal quality that would increase the likelihood of prosocial behavior.

As seen in the case of the World Trade Centre in 2001, prosocial individuals do not like to see other people suffering while they could help. For instance, William Wick refused to leave the South Tower because there were people who were still there. He believed that he could save the people and in that process, he lost his life. Prosocial people can, therefore, be said to be individuals who are always willing to help and do not want to see other people suffering. They would risk their lives to save other people’s lives. Their willingness to assist increases when they are faced with a situation that threatens other people’s lives. In such cases, they would not leave anyone to suffer while they watch.


Aggression and Prosocial Behavior. (2016). International Journal Of Psychology, 51, 15-30

Burnette, J., & Finkel, E. (2012). Buffering against weight gain following dieting setbacks: An implicit theory intervention. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(3), 721-725.

Resnik, D. (2015). What is Ethics in Research & Why is it important? Retrieved from  

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Prosocial behavior could assist people in dealing with setbacks of weight control.. (2021, Mar 30). Retrieved July 13, 2024 , from

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