Piliavin Study

Piliavin Study
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  • Victim - drunk/ill and black/white
  • Helping model - presence/absence
  • Observers recorded the number and race of observers and helpers, latency of helping response, movement out of the critical area and spontaneous comments
  • Adjacent area
  • Emergency area
  • Field experiment to investigate the effect of several variables on helping behaviour using trains in New York. 4 teams of 4 students.
  • I wish I could help him - I'm not strong enough
  • 4 model conditions - Critical area (early): model helped after 70 seconds Critical area (late): model helped after 150 seconds Adjacent area (early): model helped after 70 seconds Adjacent area (late): model helped after 150 seconds
  • It's for men to help him.
  • Approximately 4450 passengers on New York subway between 11am-3pm during 15/04/68 and 26/06/68 on a 7.5 minute non stop journey. Racial composition of typical carriage 45% black and 55% white.
  • Diffusion of responsibility was not evident in this study as initially thought. In fact, the quickest help came from the largest groups.
  • Cane victims received spontaneous help on 62 out of 65 trials regardless of his race.
  • Drunk victims (smelling of alcohol with a bottle of alcohol in a brown bag) received spontaneous help on 19 out of 38 trials with mainly members of his own race helping.
  • On 21 of the 103 trials, 34 people left the critical area - mostly when victim appeared drunk.
  • Pros of study: had ecological validity and a large sample size Cons of study: ethical issues and lack of control.
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