Helping behavior and its motivation has been a popular topic of discussion throughout the centuries. Some researchers suggest that we are able to help others for altruistic reasons if we feel empathy for them. Others say that there are always egoistic reasons involved, such as managing one's bad mood at the sight of seeing someone in need. By using different instructions we attempted to manipulate three groups of students to feel
different levels of empathy for a poor orphan, and then we measured how much they helped in a subsequent and unrelated situation. Students in all of the experimental conditions reported feeling high levels of empathy for the orphan, and the majority also helped in the unrelated situation. There were no significant differences between the groups. Possible reasons for the obtained results are discussed.