psycho

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  • In this field experiment, there were four groups of four, the groups contained two males and two females. The female participants observed and recorders the investigation (race/sex/comments/latency) in an adjacent carriage. 
  • While the men were confederates, one victim and one model. The aim of the study was to investigate factors affecting helping behavior(altruism). The factors they were interested included : 1) The type of victim (drunk or ill) 2)  The race of the victim (Black or white ) 3)  The speed of helping  4) The frequency of helping  5) The race of the helper
  • The confedrate who was pretending to be in need of assistance either carried a cain implyinh he was disabled or smelt of aldohol and was  pretending ti be drunk. There was a mixture of races and genders on the train (45%black and 55%white). He then then fell over face up and did not mover until he was helped by the model. 
  • The confedrate who was pretending to be in need of assistance either carried a cain implyinh he was disabled or smelt of aldohol and was  pretending ti be drunk. There was a mixture of races and genders on the train (45%black and 55%white). He then then fell over 
  • The cane victim received spontaneous help 62 out of 65 trials
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  • and the drunk victim received spontaneous help 19 out of 38 trials
  • It was found that 90% of helpers were male. Although there were more men present, this percentage was statistically significant: it was also found that 64% of the helpers were white: this was what would be expected based on the racial distribution of the carriage
  • • Psychology being investigated: Bystander Apathy: the phenomenon of when observers of an emergency situation do not intervene.  o Diffusion of responsibility (Latané and Darley): is a sociopsychological phenomenon whereby people are less likely to offer help if other people are present because they feel that the whole group is equally responsible, thus making themselves less personally responsible.
  •   Experimenters: Students from Columbia University: 4 male victims (3 white, 1 black, aged 26-35); 4 male models( all white, aged 24-29) and 8 female observers.
  • They argue that firstly, observation of an emergency situation creates an emotional arousal by bystanders. This arousal may be perceived as fear, disgust or sympathy, depending on aspects of the situation
  • Costs of helping, such as effort, embarrassment and possible physical harm: Cost if not helping, such as self-blame and perceived censure from others: Rewards of helping, such as praise from self onlookers and the victim; Rewards of not helping, such as getting on with one's own business and injuring the possible costs of helping .
  • on 60% of the 81 trials where spontaneous help was given, more than one person offered help. Once one person had started to help, there were no differences for the different victim conditions (black/white, cane/drunk) on the number of extra helpers that appeared. The race of the victims made no significant difference to helping behavior, but there was a slight tendency for same-race helping in the drunken condition 
  • Controls: Same 7 1/2 minute train journey for all trials. Victim wore the same clothe and fell over at the same time (70 sec)/ same direction of journey. Each team member started the journey in the same place (1 observer in adjacent exit door and observer 2 in the adjacent carriage in the far corner). There were 13 seats and some standing room in the area at all times.
  • This state of arousal can be increased by a number of factors including: empathy with the victim (ie. whether you can perceive yourself in the vitims situation); being close to the emergency; the length of time the emergency continues for. this state of arousal can be reduced by a number of factors including; helping) seeking help from another source; leaving the scene: deciding the person doesn't need or deserve help.
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  • Evaluation Ethics (consent): A problem with a field experiment is that p's cannot give their consent, because they do not know they are participating. Deception: p's were also not debriefed as this would have been almost impossible. The p's might of felt guilt,distress and anxiety Validity: A further problem with field experiment are slo more difficult to replicate and more time consuming and expensive. Generalization: We cannot draw general conclusions about gender differences , because there are other situations where women are more likely to help if personal risks are less. Ecological Validity: True life environment and realistic incident. However, p's were very close to the victim- inescapable(which stopped diffusion of responsibility) Sample: Large and fairly representative of New Yorkers (general public) so more confidence when generalising findings
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