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Piliavin Subway Samaritan
Transcript of Piliavin Subway Samaritan
Altruism - An act which benefits others but not the person performing it.
Piliavin, Rodin & Piliavin
Type of Victim (drunk/cane)
Does it exist?
Murder of Kitty Genovese
Stabbed to death
Died March 13 1964
What factors would influence you helping a stranger?
1. Notice the event
2. Nature of the potential helper
3. Cost of helping - social exchange theory
4. Nature of the victim
5. Nature of the situation
Latane & Darely (1968)
smoke through vents
Alone = 75% reported smoke with 6mins
Group of 3 = 62% didn't report smoke
people can mislead each other
into thinking it is not an emergency
Latane & Darley
Alone = 85% within 60s
1 other = 62% within 60s
4 others = 31% within 60s
If others are present at the scene
then we are less likely to help.
Diffusion of Responsibility
PIuralistic Ignorance & Diffusion of Responsibility both suggest that the presence of others inhibit helping behaviour.
Most research on helping behaviour has been conducted in labs. Piliavin wanted to investigate diffusion of responsibility in real life conditions. He also wanted to see whether models influence helping behaviour, buliding on Bryan & Test
To investigate the effect of type and race of victim, on the speed and frequency of the helping response.
Field experiment - Participant observation
NY subway train
7.5 mins train journey
11am to 3pm
16 Columbia general studies students
Divided into 4 teams
2 males & 2 females in each team
Males = 1 victim & 1 model
Females = observers x2
Victims = Cane (ill) victim was carrying a black cane, grabbed his chest and fell to the floor. Drunk victim was holding a brown bag and reeked of booze (one victim was black)
collaspe after 70 secs -
If no one helped - model would intervene
once the train had stopped.
observers recorded behaviour
Race of the victim (black or white)
Critical area early (70ses)
Critical area late (150secs)
Adjacent area early (70secs)
Adjacent area late (150secs)
No model condition
Number of people on the train (Naturally occurring)
Number of helpers
Race of helpers
Movement made out of critical area
Verbal comments made
Av. no. in carriage 43
Av. in critical 8
90% of the first helpers were males
Cane victim received more help more quickly
100% helped cane victim
Cane victim received spontaneous help 95% of the time i.e. help before 70secs
81% help for drunk victim
Drunk received spontaneous help 50% of the time
Cane victim therefore received more help
Cane victim helped the quickest
Mean times for help
Cane = 5secs
Drunk = 109secs
Men more likely to help
"it is for men to help"
"i wish i could help, but I'm not strong enough"
the more people present the more likely people where to help
no evidence of diffusion of responsibility
The "Arousal: Cost - Reward" Model
1. Emergency situation creates an emotional sense of arousal
2. Can be interpreted as fear, sympathy,etc
3. Arousal is heightened by
- Empathy with victim
- proximity to victim
- Length of time
4. Arousal reduced by
- Getting help
- Rationalising why you can't help
5. Action is determined by a cost-reward matrix
Speed of helpers
Sex of helpers
Over 200 trials were carried out
across the whole study. There were
more cane trials compared to drunk as some of the victims 'didn't
like playing drunk!'
There was a slight tendency for same race helping, especially in the drunk condition
Evaluation of Piliavin
Draw a spider map of the strengths and weaknesses
of Piliavin. Evaluate the following:
Data, Reliability, Sample, Validity, Ethnocentrism and
1. How does Piliavin relate to the social approach?
2. How does Piliavin relate to its key theme of
'Responses to people in need'?
3. What is the new conclusion/understanding of
behaviour as highlighted by Piliavin?
4. How does Piliavin change our understanding of
individual behaviour and social diversity?
Bryan and Test (1967)
They showed that individuals are more likely to be good Samaritans if they have just observed another individual performing a helpful act.
Av. over 4500 traveled
Individual diversity: It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along. the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.
Cultural diversity: the cultural variety and cultural differences that exist in the world, a society, or an institution.
Social diversity: understanding that there are different types of people in a community. It is used to describe the uniqueness and individuality of the society. For example Western society compared to Eastern society.