levine et al

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background and theories on helping behaviour?
Milgram’s (1970) system overload theory puts forward a cognitive explanation of helping: that people in environments causing the greatest sensory overload will block non-essential information, and pay attention only to their own goals.
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what is a way in measuring extent of system overload in a location?
One way, therefore, of measuring the extent of system overload in a location, is pace of life. The theory would predict a negative correlation between pace of life and helping in non-emergency situations, as these events are likely to be blocked out
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aims?
To investigate whether cultures tend to help consistently across all non-emergency situations, whether there were cross-cultural differences in frequency of helping, and the socio-cultural factors related to frequency- helping in non-emergency situ's
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sample method and charactristics?
The sample were major/largest cities in 23 countries across America, Eastern and Western Europe, Africa, and Asia.
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what was the sampling method?
To measure helping rates, and pace of life, an opportunity sample of people in downtown areas, selected by the researcher (a responsible student returning home/travelling, or a collaborating psychologist/student from the country)
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when was the behaviour oberserved?
on clear days, during business hours, in the summer months, between 1992-1997.
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how did they determine what personb to use?
When measuring helping rates in the dropping pen and injured leg situations, the 2nd person to cross a predetermined invisible point on the street, who was over 17, walking alone, and physically able, was targeted.
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how was the procedure controlled?
Researchers given detailed instructions on how to conduct the helping measures, carried out field-training/practiced together acting for their roles, and were instructed not to verbally communicate with participants.
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what did the strict procedure control for?
This controlled for experimenter effects confounding results, i.e. researchers’ behaviour making participants suspicious the helping situations were not genuine.
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what was the contol in research charactristics?
All researchers were college-aged males, dressed neatly and casually, to ensure gender or appearance did not influence helping.
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procedure?
3 measures of rates of helping strangers in non-emergency situations were conducted in at least 2 downtown areas
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what was in the dropped pen situation?
walk moderate pace towards pedestrian walking in opposite direction. Reach into pocket and accidently drop pen behind them, 10 -15 feet in front of participant, without noticing. Recorded = helping if the participant picked up the pen or told them.
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what was in the dropped pen situation?
walk towards the participants with a heavy limp and visible cast. Drop a pile of magazines 20 feet in front of the participant. Recorded as helping if they offered to help or began to pick up magazines.
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what was the hurt leg situation?
walk towards the participants with a heavy limp and visible cast. Drop a pile of magazines 20 feet in front of the participant. Recorded as helping if they offered to help or began to pick up magazines.
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what was the blind person situation?
researcher wearing dark glasses and carrying a white cane stepped up to a crossing just before the light turned green, held out their cane, and waited until someone offered help or 60secs passed/the light turned red. Recorded as helping or told them
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what was the measurement of pace of life?
walking pace (time taken to walk 60ft) was measured in at least 2 downtown areas of each city, where the helping behaviours were recorded.
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who was chosen for pace of life and what was the enviroment like?
The areas were flat and unobstructed. 35 male and 35 female, able-bodied individuals were selected, who were walking alone and did not stop to window shop
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what was the measurement of economic wellbeing?
Purchasing Power Parity of each country was gathered from analysing data from 1994, published by the World Bank. PPP measures how much of each currency would be required in its relative country to buy the same goods and accounts for cost of living
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what was population size measured?
Used data, published on each city, by the United Nations in 1996.
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how were cultural values measured?
6 expert cross-cultural psychologists independently rated the countries on the individualistic/collectivist dimension.
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what was used to rate the cultural values?
10 point scale from 1 being most collectivist (emphasising self-sacrifice for the benefit of one’s social group) to 10 being most individualistic (emphasising independence and self-sufficiency)
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what did the ratings show?
Their ratings showed 92% concordance (agreement) demonstrating high inter-rater reliability, so the ratings of the 6 psychologists were averaged for each country.
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what were latin american countries and spain assumed to share?
simpatia cultural values (a cultural expectation of being friendly and helpful towards others, and caring about their wellbeing).
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findings and conlusions?
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) had the highest total helping rate, at 93%, and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) had the lowest, at 40%. This demonstrates there are cultural differences in helping strangers in non-emergency situations.
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findings and conlusions 2?
Significant concordance rates were found between helping rates in all non-emergency situations, apart from between the hurt leg and dropped pen situations.
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what were the exceptions from finding 2?
New York (US) had high helping rates for the blind person but ranked the lowest for helping in the hurt leg and dropped pen situations
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what else can lower reliablity in this exp?
Likeliness to help strangers in non-emergency situations may be influenced by perceptions of the seriousness of the situation which may interact with cultural factors producing differences in helping across situations
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finding and conclusions 3?
There was a negative correlation between economic wellbeing and helping rates in non-emergency situations
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how could conclusion and finding 2 be explained?
This could be explained by the capitalist values of wealthier countries, which emphasise individualistic attitudes. Social norms prioritise one’s own goals over helping others, explaining lower helping rates.
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findings and conclusions 4?
Simpatia countries were, on average, significantly more helpful than non-simpatia countries. Individuals from these countries may be more helpful because they have internalised scripts for how to behave towards strangers, i.e. in a friendly/helpful
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what is a third variable of 4?
However, a third variable, such as shared religious values (the majority are Roman Catholic) may have affected this relationship.
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findings and conclusions 5?
There was a small, non-significant, negative correlation between pace of life and helpfulness.
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what was the clear exeption against 5?
There were clear exceptions, such as Copenhagen (Denmark), which has a good helping rate and good economic wellbeing.
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what does this exeption provide support for?
This provides some support for Milgram’s (1970) system overload theory but the unreliability of the relationship across cultures demonstrates that this theory does not provide an adequate explanation for cultural differences in helping.
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findings and conclusions 6?
There was a small, non-significant, negative correlation between individualism and helpfulness.
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what was the clear exeption against 6?
There were clear exceptions, such as Kuala Lumpur (Malysia), which had the lowest helping rate and was one of the most collectivist countries.
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what does this execption suggest?
This suggests collectivism may result in greater helping because of the emphasis on self-sacrifice for the benefit of one’s social group
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what goes against the execption in 6?
the unreliability of the relationship across cultures suggests cultural dimensions are not a good predictor of helping behaviour because it is difficult to determine whether a stranger would be perceived as a member of the in-group or the out-group
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results and conclusions 7?
There was no relationship between population size and helping. This was expected as the sample cities were selected for having very large population sizes and may have reached the maximal level at which could have no furher influence helping behaviou
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what is a way in measuring extent of system overload in a location?

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One way, therefore, of measuring the extent of system overload in a location, is pace of life. The theory would predict a negative correlation between pace of life and helping in non-emergency situations, as these events are likely to be blocked out

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sample method and charactristics?

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