Altruism/Bystanders Studies


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  • Created by: Marie
  • Created on: 23-05-09 20:29

Study 1: Helping Elaine
: Participants in the high empathy condition still helped even when given the opportunity to leave (Batson et al., 1981)
A02: This suggests that... people help for reasons other than just the reduction of their own personal distress.
A02: However... it is possible that participants in Batson et al.'s study saw through the deception and acted accordingly.

Study 2: Gaining social approval

A01: FULTZ et al. (1986) found that the possibility of social evaluation did not increase helping in a high empathy condition, whereas in a low empathy condition helping was lower if there was no possibility of social evaluation.

A02: This suggests that when empathy is aroused, people are likely to help for purely altruistic reasons, but in the absence of empathy, egoistic reasons are more important in determining whether help will be given.
A02: In real like people may behave differently, according to OLINER and OLINER (1988), who found that 37% of those who helped jews during WWII did so for altruistic reasons.

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Study 3: What determines altruistic behaviour?

KRUGER (2003) found that genetic relatedness and reciprocity (egoistic factors) were more important than empathy in determining the likelihood of performing a risky rescue behaviour.

A02: This shows that... although empathy may influence altruistic behaviour, it does so within a more selfishly motivated system where reciprocity and genetic relatedness are more important.

A02: However... Research may have exaggerated the differences between western and non-western cultures in that most research on altruism has focused on the attitudes and experiences of students, who represent a biased sample.

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Studies 4: Related to the decision model

  • Stage 2: In an ambiguous situation, people are less likely to help (Clark and WORD, 1972)
  • Stage 3: Studies of diffusion of responsibility and pluralistic ignorance (e.g. DARLEY et al., 1973)
  • Stage 4: Bystanders trained in first aid are more likely to help (Cramer et al., 1988)

A02: One problem is... that such studies sometimes lacked mundane realism.

A02: However... the decision morel assumes that we think rationally.

A02: It does not explain... what motivates helping, but this can be explained with reference to personal norms (SCWARTZ and HOWARD, 1981)

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Studies 5: Diffusion of responsibility

A01: LATANE and DABBS (1975) found that the probability of helping decreased with the number of bystanders present.

A02: A conclusion is that... field studies have generally found that people are more helpful than is the case in laboratory studies

A01: LATANE and DARLEY (1970) found that people were more likely to offer help to someone who had dropped books in a lift if one other person was present than if six other people were present.

A02: However: Not all studies carried out in natural settings have found that larger numbers of bystanders means less help is given.

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