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Levine Cross-cultural altruism

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amie smith

on 12 January 2017

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Transcript of Levine Cross-cultural altruism

Cross-Cultural Differences in Helping Strangers
What was limiting about Piliavin’s research?

Experimental Results: combining results of all 3 helping measures
Method: Field experiment

Study 1: Dropped pen
Study 2; Hurt leg
study 3: Helping a blind person
Walked at moderate paces; when 15 feet away from subject the pen was dropped.
214 men and 210 women were approached.
DV: Results were taken on whether or not they picked up the pen and brought it back or if they called out to the experimenter.
Hurt leg
dropped and struggled to reach for pile of magazines.
253 men and 240 women were approached.
DV: Results were taken if the subject offered to help or helped without offering.
Helping a blind person
Experimenters played the role of a blind person that needed help crossing the street.
They then walked up to a corner, held out their cane before the light turned green and waited for someone to help.
281 trials; trials were terminated after 60 seconds or when the light turned red; whichever came first.
DV: Results were taken if at least the subject told the experimenter that the light was green.
Vienna, Austria
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sofia, Bulgaria
Shanghai, China
San Jose, Costa Rica
Prague, Czech Republic
Copenhagen, Denmark
San Salvador, El Salvador
Budapest, Hungary
Calcutta, India
Tel Aviv, Israel
Rome, Italy
Lilongwe, Malawi
Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
Mexico City, Mexico
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Bucharest, Romania
Singapore, Singapore
Madrid, Spain
Stockholm, Sweden
Taipei, Taiwan
Bangkok, Thailand
New York City, United States
College students; dressed casually
All male
They were all trained using a detailed instruction sheet for each role of the IV
No verbal communication
Population size:
Number of people in each country
Economic indicator:
Average income earned
Cultural values:
rated on a 10 point scale 1= most collectivistic, 10= most individualistic. Mean average calculated. Latin American countries were simpatia (Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain The rest of the countries classed as non-simpatia cultures.
Walking speed:
(pace of life) Measured by timing how long it took 35 men and 35 women in each country to cover a 60 feet distance. Mean average calculated.

Most Helpful
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Lilongwe, Malawi
Calcutta, India
Vienna, Austria
Least Helpful
New York City, United States of America
Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Sofia, Bulgaria
Significant positive correlation:
Lower economic productivity
Greater overall helping

Insignificant positive correlation:
Greater walking speed
less likely to offer help

Insignificant positive correlation:
More individualistic countries
less overall helping
Correlations between economic status and overall helping showed that Simpatia countries (Latin American countries and Spain) are more likely to help than non-simpatia
Simpatia v. Non-Simpatia
The helping of strangers is a cross-culturally meaningful characteristic
Helping across cultures is related to a countries economic productivity
The value of collectivism-individualism is unrelated to helping behaviour
Robert V. Levine, Ara Norenzayan and Karen Philbrick
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 2001; 32; 543

Look at the following scenarios of pro-social behaviour and try to apply the most appropriate theory from the following:

Kin selection theory:
this refers to the tendency to perform behaviours that may favour the chance of survival of blood relatives (e.g. Hoffman, 1981).
Reciprocal altruism:
is where an individual makes sacrifices for another individual with the expectation of similar treatment in the future. (Trivers, 1971).
Responsibility-pro-social value orientation:
holds that a strong influence on helping behaviour is a feeling of one’s responsibility to help, especially when combined with the belief that one is able to help the other person (Staub, 2003).
Social exchange theory:
people help because they want to gain goods from the one being helped. They calculate rewards and costs of helping others, aiming to maximise the rewards and minimise the costs (Foa & Foa, 1975).
Previous research by Steblay’s (1987) showed that people in large cities tend to help less than in smaller places. Little research has focused on cultural differences in helping behaviour. This study had 3 main goals:

The study wants to find if a city’s tendency to offer non-emergency help to strangers is similar across a wide range of cultures.
Does helping of strangers vary cross-culturally?
What are some of the community characteristics that are related to helping of strangers across cultures
This study therefore investigated 3 theoretical explanations in helping behaviour that had never been considered in cross-cultural research:

Economic explanations:
The status of employment/unemployment, success or failure of businesses and income of the country
Cultural Values:
Individualism = focus on own goals. Collectivism = focus on group goals. Simpatia = harmonious relationships
Cognitive Explanation
: Pace of life: in the past cognitive processing theories predict that a rapid pace of life decrease the likelihood of finding time for social responsibilities, specifically when it involves strangers. Pace of life relates to the countries level of busy lifestyles and average working hours.

Using the standardized instructions.
Carry out your own version of the study.
You can attempt this inside or outside of
school. You must record your results and
bring them to lesson. Also note where you
carried out your study.
Correlational results
Think of at least 2 similarities and 2 differences between Piliavin and Levine.

Consider MESSED when making comparisons:

Sampling method
Experimental design

Socrative quiz: Piliavin and Levine
1. How does Levine relate to the social approach?
2. How does Levine relate to its key theme of 'Responses to people in need'
3. What is the new conclusion/understanding of
behaviour as highlighted by Levine?
4. How does Levine change our understanding of
individual behaviour, cultural behaviour and social diversity?
Write down the strengths and weaknesses of Levine.
Evaluate the following:

Data, Reliability, Sample, Validity, Ethnocentrism and Ethics
Important questions
How does Piliavin and Levine relate to the following debates:
Usefulness of research

1. Explain why a field experiment was used in Piliavin [2]
2. Suggest why Piliavin did not provide evidence for diffusion of responsibility [2]
3. From Piliavins study, outline one way in which the procedure may be considered reliable [3]
4. To what extent does the study by Levine et al. change our
understanding of responses to people in need?[3]
5. Suggest one strength and one weakness of the cross-cultural technique in this Levines study [4]
6. In Levine et al.’s study into cultural altruism, there were
three different conditions: Describe how helping behaviour was recorded in one of these conditions. [2]
The length of the study was different. Sperry’s study was a snapshot study whereas Casey’s was longitudinal

Sperry’s was a snapshot study with participants only being tested once on each of the tactile and visual tasks which assessed hemisphere lateralisation

whereas Casey et al.’s study was a longitudinal study in which participants were tested at the age of 3-4 years old with a cookie delay of gratification task and then on several other occasions up until their 40's

Levine wanted to see whether a countries characteristics such as economic status, cultural values and pace of life would effect helping behaviours. Previous research has only focused on one country (Piliavin) or the effect of population size (Steblay). Levine found that countries that had higher economic status tended to be less helpful overall (which research had not shown before) so to an extent our understanding of people in need has changed.
The question asks to what extent so candidates can argue
that it does OR does not change our understanding. Some
contemporary studies change our understanding more than
others Top band answers would make a judgement about the
extent to which a change of understanding has occurred and
support their argument with supporting evidence from the
named study
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