Good Samaritanism: an underground phenomenon? - Piliavin, I.M., Rodin, J. and Piliavin, J. (1969)
Would you help someone who was in trouble? What is there were lots of other people around who could help them instead? Would you still intervene?
Background - The Bystander Effect
Latané and Darley coined the term the 'bystander effect' after conducting experiments inspired by the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964. It describes a tendency for people not to offer help to other people in social situations, especially when there are lots of people around! The idea is that the more people there are around, the less we feel personally responsible for dealing with the situation.
Piliavin, Rodin and Piliavin wanted to see if this effect was as strong in the real world as it was in the lab.
A good summary and evaluation of the research paper can be found on the Holah website, or you can read the full text here.
Test your knowledge with this matching quiz, this true or false quiz, this multi-choice quiz and this crossword.
The Bystander Effect - Video introduced by Phil Zimbardo!
Assignment 1 - Alternative study
Piliavin et al conducted a field experiment. An alternative method of study would have been a lab experiment.
1. Describe a lab experiment as a research method in Psychology. (5)
2. How could they have conducted an experiment with a similar aim, but in a lab?
Write a description of the study, including the who, what, where and how. (10)
2. What would the advantages and disadvantages of such an experiment be, compared to the original?
Evaluate this new study in practical and ethical terms. (10)
Submit your alternative study and evaluation through the form on the home page.
Assignment 2 - Paper 1 short questions
Have a go at the short questions in the document below. Submit your answers through the form on the home page.
Big Issue - Individual and Situational explanations
Situational explanations look to the environment (the situation we are in) to explain the causes of behaviour. Examples of situational variables include society, culture, noise or anything else in the environment.
Individual explanations look at factors in the person themselves to explain behaviour. Examples of individual variables could be genetics, hormones or personality.
It should be obvious that the studies of the social approach use situational explanations of behaviour... but what about the other ones?
Make a table with two columns, one headed 'Situational' and one 'Individual'. Place some of the other studies you have covered into the correct column. (N.B. Not all studies will fit nicely into one category, so you don't need to include all of them).
Watch the video, then complete the study description in as much detail as you can without notes.
What are the differences between the experimental demonstrations of the bystander effect and the Piliavin experiment that might account for the different results they found?
What could be done to encourage more people to be 'good samaritans'?