Pro-Social Behaviors Subprojects

Faculty fellows and research assistants of the ISS’ collaborative project on Pro-Social Behaviors have begun research on the prevention of anti-social behaviors and the promotion of pro-social behaviors in technology-mediated settings. 

Does it work? The Effectiveness of Crowdsourced Support in Reducing Distress

Janis Whitlock, BCTR; Natalie Bazarova, Communication; Kaylee Kruzman, RA, Communication; Dominic DiFranzo, RA, Communication; Julia Chapman, RA, BCTR

A growing body of research provides support for the efficacy of web-based and mobile applications (apps) in reducing distress. Availability of apps and other web-based platforms that use “crowdsource” models to provide peer based support are a prosocial and potentially effective means of reaching individuals experiencing distress. This project assess the efficacy of using one such peer-based support app, Talk Life, in reducing self-harm and increasing readiness to engage in therapy.


Social Influence in Online Environments: Examining the Effects of Media Literacy, Social Norms, and Design Interventions on Self-disclosure in Social Media

Philipp K. Masur, Media Psychology (University of Hohenheim); Dominic DiFranzo, Communication; Natalie Bazarova, Communication

This research project aims to investigate whether higher media literacy and subtle alterations of a social network site’s (SNS) architecture can promote more privacy-aware behavior. Prior research has shown that users of SNSs adapt to prevailing social norms. Many SNS users share intimate details of their life, thus promoting a social norm of sharing private information as an appropriate or even expected behavior. The goal of this research project is to investigate whether critical and reflective abilities and subtle design interventions can mitigate the effects of prevailing social norms and thereby promote more privacy-aware behavior on SNSs. By examining relevant behavioral antecedents of privacy and disclosure behaviors in social media, this study will have important implications for privacy-friendly designs and educational interventions that will help to instill more privacy-aware behavior in social media users.


Underestimating others’ willingness to help

Vanessa Bohns, Organizational Behavior; Lauren DeVincent, RA, Organizational Behavior; Sebastian Deri, RA, Psychology; Daniel Stein, RA, Organizational Behavior, UC-Berkely; Charlie Stewart, Undergraduate RA, ILR

This project explores help-seekers’ perceptions of the likelihood that they will receive help should they ask for it. Specifically, we are testing the hypothesis that help-seekers underestimate others’ willingness to help them to different degrees across a variety of contexts (e.g., asking for help from friends vs. strangers, making large vs. small requests).