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Piliavin et al Good Samaritan Study
Transcript of Piliavin et al Good Samaritan Study
Good Samaritanism; an underground phenomenon?
is doing something for someone else without getting anything for yourself.
Have you ever been altruistic? Have you done a good deed for anyone without getting anything yourself?
Is there such a thing as
There are two types of rewards that we can get from good deeds...
External, physical rewards (money, chocolate, gifts, a chance for a promotion, a good reference etc...
Internal, emotional rewards (feeling good about yourself, feeling satisfied you have achieved something, or done something good that day)
A 28 year old woman who was murdered in New York in 1964 while she was walking home.
The attack on Kitty lasted approximately 35 minutes.
During the stabbings, the killer fled the scene when he saw lights on from nearby apartments (witnesses) but returned - twice more.
During that time there were 38 witnesses to the attack. Despite Kitty's screams for help, no one assisted her - or even called the police.
She was murdered on the third attack.
Why did no one help her?
The story shocked America and led to several studies taking place - generally in Lab Experiments to find out the cause of "the bystander effect"
Latane and Darley (1968)
The Diffusion of Responsibility
When people in a group mislead each other about the situation.
Bystanders do not take responsibility to help victims when there are other bystanders present as each feels as if someone else can help.
Individuals CONFORM with what the group is doing.
Irving and Jane Piliavin
Were professors of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. When riding the subway, a friend of theirs once saw a drunk man collapse on the train. No one did anything. After telling this story to the Piliavin's, they had designed the study a few hours later.
Was the president of the University of Pennsylvania (the first woman to ever become the president of an Ivy League University). She has been given several awards relating to her work with the local community.
Theories were created to try and explain the findings in research like this.
The Piliavin's and Rodin wanted to build upon studies that had already been conducted in this area by improving
Would an ill person get more help than a drunk person? (type of victim)
Would people show ethnocentric behaviour (helping others of the same race before individuals of different races)
Would the intervention of a 'model' influence others?
Would the size of the group of bystanders influence help?
The study was designed to investigate how a group of people would react if they saw someone collapsed on a train.
A drunk person would get LESS help than a ill person.
People would help others that are of the same race.
Seeing one person help would encourage others to help.
The larger the group, the less likely it is that help will come (diffusion of responsibility)
Where people fail to act and help someone in need when others are present.
The design that Piliavin et al decided to use was a FIELD EXPERIMENT.
The study took place on a carriage of a New York subway train that Piliavin et al had hired. Passengers on the train had no idea the carriage was being used for an experiment.
The 8th Avenue Express Subway Train
Participants were simply passengers on the train who traveled in the carriage where the experiment was happening.
Trials took place over 3 months, on weekdays between 11am and 3pm. Each trial would always take place in between the same two stops, as there was a 7 and a half minute period where there would be no interruptions.
Over the 3 months, around 4,450 participants took part. 55% White and 45% black. Participants had no knowledge that they were ever in an experiment at any point.
Using teams of university students, the experiment created a situation to see how the passengers on the train (participants) would respond.
70 seconds into the train journey a victim (an actor) would stagger forwards and collapse on the train.
The situation was recreated over and over throughout the 3 months where the experiment was taking place.
However they did not re-create it in exactly the same way each time.
On some days the victim would appear to be ILL and hold a walking cane.
On other days the victim would appear DRUNK and smell like alcohol.
The RACE of the victim would vary. Sometimes he was white, and other times black.
In some groups, a MODEL (one of the students, who was acting) would help the VICTIM.
The number of passengers on the train would also vary.
These are INDEPENDENT VARIABLES
Type of Victim (ill or drunk)
The race of the Victim (black or white)
Whether there were helping Models or not
The number of passengers in the carriage
Independent variables are controlled and manipulated by the experimenter.
There were 4 teams of university students who conducted the study.
Each team had two males and two females.
The two females were observers on the train. They covertly recorded:
The part of the victim was ALWAYS male, aged between 26 and 35 and wore the same clothes - regardless of whether he was drunk/ill/black/white.
If there was a model present, the model would offer help to the victim at different points on different days:
The model would be in the critical area and help the victim quickly (after 70 seconds)
The model would be in the critical area and help the victim slower (after 150 seconds)
The model would be in the adjacent area (far from the victim) and help quickly.
The model would be in the adjacent area and help slower.
There would be no model at all.
The males played the parts of victim and model.
By the end of the 3 month period, the teams had conducted 103 trials of the situation.
65 of these trials had the "ill" victim.
38 of the trials had the "drunk" victim.
(this is because one team did not like conducting the "drunk" condition on the train).
Are variables that are controlled or manipulated by the experimenter.
In this study, the independent variables are:
Type of Victim (drunk or ill)
Race of Victim (Black or White)
Presence of Models (quick or slow, adjacent or critical )
The number of passengers witnessing the victim
Are variables that we measure in order to find out the results.
In this study, the dependent variables are:
The number people who helped the victim
The time it took for people to help the victim
The race of the helpers
The gender of the helpers
The location of the passengers (did they move?)
Comments the passengers said to each other
The race, gender and location of passengers on the whole train, and the critical area.
The race, gender and location of passengers who helped the collapsed victim.
How long it took passengers to help the victim.
What passengers said to each other once they noticed the victim.
Passengers almost always helped the victim.
out of the 103 trials had no one helping at all.
An "ill" victim received help
A "drunk" person received help
The number of bystanders on the train:
Showed no difference in how many people helped.
In 21 trials...
34 people actually LEFT the critical area when the victim collapsed.
90% of the first helpers were male
Comments from women included:
"It's for men to help"
Other comments included:
"You feel bad when you don't know what to do"
Passengers said more to each other when they thought the victim was drunk.
Did not really have a large effect on who helped...
Black victims received slightly less help, especially in the drunk condition.
White passengers were slightly more likely to help white victims.
The longer the victim remained on the floor...
The less impact the models had on others.
The more likely it was that passengers would leave the critical area.
The more likely it was that passengers would comment on the situation.
The median time it took passengers to help the ill victim.
The median time it took passengers to help the drunk victim.
*WITHOUT the aid of a model
Using the data gathered from the results, Piliavin et al suggested a model to explain how people respond to emergency situations...
The model states that when bystanders observe an emergency, a state of arousal (not that kind) is created...
Arousal is an unpleasant emotion (e.g. fear, sympathy, disgust etc...) that we want to get rid of.
We can reduce this arousal in different ways:
We can help the person
We can get help
We can leave
We can believe the person doesn't deserve any help and not do anything.
Piliavin et al conclude that as people weigh up the rewards of helping or not...
...people are NOT ALTRUISTIC
and are working with selfish desires.
"a selfish desire to get rid of an unpleasant emotional state."
Effort, harm, embarrassment
Disapproval, Blame, Guilt, Judgement
Praise from others, feeling good about yourself
Being able to continue your other activities, less effort
The arousal-cost-reward model
Why was there no diffusion of responsibility?
Piliavin found that the larger the group, there more likely there was help given to the victim...
Passengers were trapped on the train, there was no one else coming to help them.
Unlike the situation with Kitty Genovese, it was clear that there was problem.
There were reduced costs to helping i.e. you are sat on the train anyway
The research method used for this study was a:
High Ecological Validity
Real life setting
Field setting means less control
Harder to isolate the IV as the cause of the behaviour
Is it possible there were other things on the train other than just the type of victim (the IV) that would have influenced whether people helped or not?
Variables other than the Independent Variable (IV) that have an effect on the study are called...
There was no way to control how many passengers were on the train.
+ The large and varied number of participants in the study was a strength to Piliavin
+ The sample of representative of the general american public
- The study is quite old however (1969), would people in the present day act in the same way?
(The observers were recording real behaviour)
How do field experiments compare with lab experiments? (like Milgram)
Participants did not give their consent to take part in the study. Covert observations were used.
They were not debriefed afterwards, and many participants had no idea they even took part in a study.
Participants were deceived and may have been distressed, as they believed that someone had collapsed on their train.
were put in place in order to keep the conditions as similar as possible for every group of participants.
The victim always wore the same clothes and fainted in the same place in the train carriage.
The study used a
design as each participant only took part in one of the conditions (drunk victim/ ill victim etc...)
As one team of researchers did not like doing the drunk condition, more trials were carried out in the ill condition. This makes the research UNEVEN.
There was no way to know if participants might have accidentally have taken part in the experiment twice, however as the study took place on the same train for 3 months, it is not beyond belief that this would have happened.
To be able to explain the background to the Piliavin et al study.
To be able to define what altruism is.
Explain the story of Kitty Genovese.
Identify at least one theory that explains the bystander effect.
What is the difference between a independent variable (IV) to a dependent variable (DV) ?
For a extrinsic reward...
Would you help someone in trouble?
Fill out the background box in your pack
Include the information on:
Kitty Genovese and the bystander effect
The lab experiment by Latane and Darley (1968) -the smoked filled room.
How Piliavin et al wanted to improve upon older studies by increasing ecological validity.
This study will investigate whether people are really altruistic or whether people will always put themselves first before helping others
Sort these variables into independent variables and dependent variables.
Type of victim (ill or drunk)
Comments made by passengers
Speed of help given
Movement out of the critical area
Model behaviour (helped quick or slow)
Type of victim (black or white)
Race and gender of the helpers
Number of helpers
Size of witnessing group (number of bystanders)
Model behaviour (critical or adjacent area)
(62/ 65 trials)
Models were rarely needed, the public helped quickly
How do you think the results were recorded?
It was hypothesised that models would encourage people to help...
It was also hypothesised that there would be diffusion of responsibility
What do you remember about...
The Social Area
How other people and external environments influence behaviour.
This study investigates the key theme of
How helpful are you?