When Do People Help

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In March 1964, Kitty Genovese was attacked in a Queens parking lot at 3 am. Almost 40 people watched from their windows while she was beaten and stabbed to death over a half hour period. No one even called the police until after the attacker fled.

Why didn’t anyone try to help her?
Latane & Darley's experiments.

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When Do People Help

  1. 1. When Do People Help?<br />Source: HYPERLINK " http://www.rpi.edu/~verwyc/oh12.htm" http://www.rpi.edu/~verwyc/oh12.htm<br />In March 1964, Kitty Genovese was attacked in a Queens parking lot at 3 am. Almost 40 people watched from their windows while she was beaten and stabbed to death over a half hour period. No one even called the police until after the attacker fled.<br />Why didn’t anyone try to help her?<br />Altruism : Concern and help for others when one expects nothing in return.<br />Social Exchange theory: human interactions are transactions that aim to maximize one’s rewards and minimize one’s costs.<br />Reciprocity norm: we should help others who have helped us in the past.<br />Social responsibility norm: We should help others who really need it, without regard to future exchanges.<br /> Myers (1983): Asked Who is likely to help out in both emergency and nonemergency situations?<br />People who are feeling guilty, as helping behaviors can help to boost self-image and reduce guilt.<br />People who are in a good mood<br />People who are very religious<br /> <br />What environmental circumstances can increase the chance of helping behavior?<br />If someone has just observed a helpful model.<br />If someone is not in a hurry.<br />When the victim appears to need and deserve help.<br />We are in a small town or rural area<br /> <br />Number of Bystanders<br /> Latane & Darley (1968-1980) : Conducted over forty experiments which examined how the number of bystanders would affect helping behavior.<br />90% of the time, a lone bystander was more likely to help than when many people were around.<br />Confederates would drop pencils or coins in an elevator and would see if people would help pick them up. If only one person was in the elevator, the confederate received help 40% of the time. This figure dropped to 20% when 6 other people were in the elevator.<br /> <br />Why does more people = less help?<br />3 factors:<br />Noticing: any given bystander is less likely to notice the incident as the number of bystanders increase.<br />Latane & Darley (1970): Had men either fill out a survey by themselves or in groups of three. While they were completing the survey, smoke started to pour into the room through a vent.<br />After four minutes of smoke, 75% of subjects who were alone reported the smoke to the researcher, while only about 12% of the subjects in groups reported it.<br />Interpretation: The more bystanders, the less likely any will interpret the situation as an emergency.<br />In the smoke experiment, only 3 of 8 groups tested ever reported the smoke.<br />We use other people’s behavior to help us gauge what the reality of the situation is.<br /> <br />Responsibility: Responsibility gets diffused as the number of bystanders increases.<br />Darley and Latane (1968): Subjects were told they were supposed to discuss problems with University life. To assure their anonymity, they were put into separate rooms and told to talk over an intercom. They were further informed that no one would be listening to their conversations. During the discussion, one of the " subjects" began having an epileptic seizure and pleaded for help. When subjects believed they were the only other person in the discussion, 85% left the room to seek help. When subjects believed four other people were also having the discussion, only 31% went to help.<br />They believed an emergency had occurred, and expressed concern when the experimenter came in at the end of the experiment.<br /> <br /> <br />When people are asked about the effect of bystanders, they claim that they had no effect on their behavior.<br /> <br />Beamon et al (1978) : Showed that informing people about bystander effects can make them more likely to help.<br />The researchers lectured one class about bystander effects while another class heard a different lecture.<br />Two weeks later, the participants were walking along with a research confederate and observed a person slumped over on a park bench. 25% of subjects who had not heard the lecture stopped to help, but 50% of the subjects who had heard the lectured offered to help.<br />They doubled the chance of helping by educating people about the bystander effects!<br />

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