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Field Study on Helping Behavior

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Field Study on Helping Behavior
Abstract

The aim of this field study was to examine helping behavior among passerbies in crowded and non-crowded areas. The study was carried out in an informal manner where the actor would lie down in the given areas, and the observers would record the amount of people who stopped to help or enquire. Due to the concept of the study, the passerby’s were the indirect participants and the objective of the study was discreetly disclosed to each passerby who bent down to offer assistance. Results showed that people tend to show more concern and interest in a less crowded area.

Helping behavior among strangers in crowded and non-crowded settings
The subject of prosocial behavior became increasingly popular since the 1970’s and from that era onwards till the present day, psychologists and researches have been finding new revelations and methods to attempt to describe and measure as well as predict variables that correlate with helping behavior (Amato, p.130, 1990). Social psychologists have considered many factors that could possibly contribute to the behavior such as the number of the bystanders present during a potential “help” situation (Latane & Darley, 1970 as cited in Amato, 1990), the uncertainty of a particular situation (Clark & Word, 1974, as cited in Amato, 1990), and to what degree an individual has to be in discomfort for bystanders to actually want to offer any help at all (Shotland & Huston, 1979, as cited in Amato, 1990). According to many investigators, the helping behavior is just a temporary, short-term circumstance that a person finds himself in (Amato, 1990). The aim of this experiment is to investigate helpfulness among strangers in two different settings; crowded and non-crowded areas.
Bibb Latane and James M. Dabbs (1975) conducted an experiment related to helping behavior. One of the prime objectives of their study was to find out “the effects of the number of people present on the likelihood of help” (Latane &



References: Amato, Paul R. (1990). Personality and Social Network Involvement as Predictors of Helping Behavior in Everyday Life. Social Psychology Quarterly. Retrieved October 2, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2786867 Bridges, F. Stephen & Coady, Neil P. (1996). Urban Size Differences in Incidence of Altruistic Behavior. Psychological Reports, 55, No.1, 31-43. Retrieved October 11, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://uwf.edu/hlsd/PR%20Urban%20Size%20Altruistic%20Behavior.pdf Latane, Bibb & Dabbs, James M. (1975). Sex, Group size, and Helping in Three Cities, 38, No. 2, 180-194. Retrieved October 9, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~maccoun/LP_Latane%20Dabbs.pdf Levine, Robert, V. (2003). Measuring Helping Behavior Across Cultures, 15, chapter 9/ V1. Retrieved October 11 from the World Wide Web: http://orpc.iaccp.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=60%3Arobert-v-levine&catid=35%3Achapter&Itemid=15

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