Aim: The aim was to investigate: The effect of the type of victim (drunk or ill) which gained most help; The race of the victim (black or white) which gained most help; The speed of helping, frequency of helping and the race of the helper. The study also sought to study the impact of the presence of a model (someone who offers help first) in emergency situations, as well as to examine the relationship between the size of the group and frequency of helping.
M&P: The method used was a type of field experiment using participant observation. The participants were approximately 4450 men and women travelling on a particular stretch of the New York underground system between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays during April and June 1968. The average racial composition of the passengers on the train, which travelled through Harlem to the Bronx, was 45% black and 55% white. The average number of people in the train carriage was 43, and the average number of people in the critical area where the incident was staged was 8.5. Two particular trains were selected for the study because they did not make any stops for about 7.5 minutes there was a captive audience who, after the first 70 seconds of their journey became bystanders to an emergency. A single trial was a non-stop, 7.5-minute journey in either direction. On each trial, a team of four Columbia General Studies students, two males and two females, boarded the train using different doors. Four different teams, whose members always worked together, collected data for 103 trials. The female confederates sat outside the critical area and recorded data as unobtrusively as possible during the journey, while the male model and victim remained standing.