Good Samaritanism: An underground phenomenon?
Following the horrific story of Kitty Genovese who was murdered in front of an apartment block where over 30 people hear her calls for help but did nothing (or did they?) Piliavin et al. wanted to investigate bystander apathy and diffusion of responsibility.
Using a field experiment she sent graduate students onto the underground in the US and had one of them fall over. She wanted to see if, who, and how many people would come to the aid of the person. Manipulations included the race of the ‘actor’ who fell over and whether they were dressed as a drunk or as an ‘ill’ (or cane) victim. Following the experiment the Arousal: Cost-Reward model was hypothesised which helps us understand the cognitive processes which we go through when making a decision to help. Read more about the study here.
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Other Piliavin Resources
- To see the full text article of Piliavin go to full text articles.
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- Learn and revise the Piliavin study with HOLAH.