Enhancing Student Altruism Using Secure Attachment Messages (SAM) in Lecture

Kelly Campbell, Stephany Ramos


In this brief report, we examine whether students’ (N=230) willingness to help individuals in distress (altruism) would be augmented after viewing Secure Attachment Messages (SAM) during lecture in a college course. Students were presented with SAM in alternating weeks as part of the PowerPoint presentation slides. In each of the 10 weeks, their likelihood of engaging in altruistic behaviors was assessed using hypothetical scenarios and a student response system, Top Hat Monocle.  We predicted that the SAM would prompt students to think of their attachment figures and enhance their feelings of security, which would increase their willingness to engage in altruistic behaviors. Our hypothesis was statistically supported in that students reported greater altruism toward individuals of various ethnic backgrounds on days for which SAM were shown in lecture. The results suggest that SAM may promote prosocial tendencies, particularly in classes with sensitive subject matter.


attachment, altruism, teaching, race, student response system

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v17i4.21978

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ISSN 1527-9316