Congruence Between the Target in Need and the Recipient of Aid: The One-Among-Others Effect


Luis Oceja, Departamento de Psicología Social y Metodología, C/ Pavlov 6, Ciudad Universitaria Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain. E-mail:


We tested the hypothesis that people are more likely to offer aid when the beneficiary of help is congruent with the entity that initiates prosocial action. In 2 experiments conducted in 2 different countries, participants were approached in naturalistic settings with an appeal for help. The target in need (individual vs. individual among others with the same need) and the beneficiary of potential help (individual vs. group) were manipulated. Results revealed that participants were more likely to offer aid when the target in need and beneficiary of help were congruent. The present research offers insight into perceptual factors that affect prosocial behavior in situations involving more than one victim.