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Piliavin and Altruism.

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Presentation on theme: "Piliavin and Altruism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Piliavin and Altruism


3 The Holocaust      In the debate over whether helping is ever truly altruistic, some have pointed to the behaviour of those who helped hide Jews from the Nazis during World War II. Was the behaviour of those individuals truly altruistic? As you can imagine, there was great risk for those who helped, but was it an example of genuine altruism?

4 A Fall from Above      In 1987, 18-month-old Jessica McClure fell down a water well in a backyard in Midland, Texas in Literally hundreds of volunteers worked around the clock to free her. The undying spirit that surrounded her rescue was truly amazing. Why did these people help? Were they truly concerned for Jessica's well-being? Are the norms for helping different when a child is involved?

5 Defining Altruism      Altruism is helping motivated by the desire to increase another's welfare. Decide for yourself whether the following are altruistic examples.

6 1. A man puts money in a blind beggar's cup.
2. A woman gives money to children in need on red nose day 3. A child helps her classmate with her homework. 4. A paramedic administers mouth to mouth resuscitation at the scene of an accident. 5. A professor helps a student during office hours.

7 Questions Who do we help? When do we help? Why do we help?
Who do we not help? When do we not help? Why do we not help? Are we truly altruistic or do we act out of selfishness?

8 The Case of Kitty Genovese
Three attacks - the third was fatal Neighbours watch from windows 35 minute lapse between start of attack and the police being called “We thought it was a lovers’ quarrel” “We were afraid. I didn’t want my husband to get involved”

9 The Case of Kitty Genovese
“I put out the light and we were able to see better” “I don’t know [why we didn’t call the police]”

10 Piliavin, Rodin and Piliavin (1969)

11 Previous Theories Bystanders derogate the victim (Lerner & Simmons, 1966) Diffusion of responsibility (Darley and Latane 1968)

12 Lerner and Simmons (1966) Lerner and Simmons (1966) conducted an experiment reminiscent of Milgram’s famous study. They brought a group of subjects to the lab to participate in a study allegedly concerning perception of emotional cues.

13 Lerner and Simmons (1966) One of the subjects (a confederate) was selected to perform a memory task and "received" a painful shock after each mistake, as the other subjects watched. When the audience subjects were asked to evaluate the victim, they showed reactions of devaluation and rejection, as if it was the victim’s fault for being shocked - said they could not believe he was so stupid.

14 Laboratory study by Latane and Darley 1968
Brought subject into lab where they were to discuss personal problems with an unseen person or persons in another room via intercom. Some subjects talked to only one other person; some to two others; some to 5 others.

15 Laboratory study by Latane and Darley 1968
One person being talked to (a confederate) would indicate early in conversation that he had a seizure disorder. Then later, he would stutter and cry out that he was having a seizure. Experimental Question: Would the subject try to help him?

16 Laboratory study by Latane and Darley 1968
When subject thought it was just him or herself and the person in trouble, all helped. When subject thought that there were 5 other people, only 62% helped out. Explained as no one individual feeling responsible for helping – diffusion of responsibility.


18 Piliavin, Rodin and Piliavin Independent Variables
1. Drunk or cane 2. Black or White 3. Early, Late or No model 4. Model initially sitting in the critical area or adjacent area. 5. The number of people on the train.

19 Piliavin, Rodin and Piliavin Dependent Variables
1. The time taken to help. 2. The race of the helper. 3. The percentage of trials in which passengers (subjects) left the critical area. 4. The number of comments made.

20 Method - Participants 4450 men and women on New York Subway train
Weekdays 11: :00, April to June, 1968 45% Black, 55% White Mean of 8.5 people in Critical area


22 The field situation No stops between 59th street and 125th street for 7½ minutes End of a carriage used that had a door leading to next carriage 13 seats plus standing room

23 Procedure Four different teams
Each team had 4 students - 2 male and 2 female 103 trials Location varied from trial to trial 2 female observers sit in adjacent area Male victim and model stand in critical area

24 Procedure As the train passes the first station after 70 seconds the victim staggers forwards and collapses Remains supine looking up at the ceiling until help arrives If nobody helps before the stop, the model helps the victim off the train

25 The victim Male between 26 and 35 years old 3 white and 1 black
Eisenhower jackets, old slacks and no tie 38 trials ‘drunk’ - smelt of liquor, bottle in paper bag 65 trials ‘cane condition’ - appeared sober and carried a black cane

26 Problem Students didn’t like playing the drunk
So not enough ‘drunk’ trials

27 Model White males Aged between 24 and 29 Informal clothes

28 Model conditions Critical area - early (70 seconds after collapse)
Critical area - late (150 seconds after collapse) Adjacent area - early Adjacent area - late

29 Percentage of trials in which help was given

30 Measures Race sex location Number of individuals Number who helped
Latency of first helper’s arrival after the victim has fallen Comments made Comments elicited from passenger next to observer

31 Results Cane victim given spontaneous help on 62 out of 65 trials
Drunk given spontaneous help on 19 out of 38 trials Difficult to run model trials because of spontaneity of help

32 Percentage of trials in which help was given

33 Results 60% of the time help was given by more than one person
Real helpers dragged the victim to a seat whereas the models were instructed to raise the victim to a sitting position leaving him on the floor Additional helpers were not influenced by the race of the victim nor by whether he appeared drunk or not

34 Characteristics of spontaneous first helpers
60% of passengers were males and 90% of first helpers were males 55% of passengers were white and 64% of first helpers were white Tendency towards “same race” helping


36 Characteristics of spontaneous first helpers
Mainly helpers of the same race helped the ‘drunk’ victim


38 Modeling Effects Remember there was little opportunity to perform model trials owing to the high level of spontaneous help given Drunk trials analysed (Too few trials possible for Cane) There was significantly more helping with the early model compared with the late No significant difference in helping with regard to in which area the model had been standing


40 Leaving the Critical Area
No one left the carriage but on 21 out of 103 trials 34 people did leave. More people left the critical area when the victim was ‘drunk’ More people left if help was not offered after 70 seconds

41 Comments made More comments made in the ‘drunk’ condition
More comments were made after 70 seconds Women commented “It’s for men to help him” “I wish I could help him – I’m not strong enough….. I never saw this kind of thing before – I don’t know where to look” “You feel so bad that you don’t know what to do”

42 Diffusion of responsibility

43 Diffusion of responsibility
The ‘Diffusion of responsibility’ hypothesis predicts that as the number of passengers increase there would be less likelihood of help being offered. There is no evidence to support this If anything the opposite is found. Passengers responded more quickly when there were more of them

44 Diffusion of responsibility
Problem: You can not compare different sized groups because it could be argued that as group size increases there is a greater chance of a ‘good Samaritan’ being present So is it group processes that cause a larger group to act or is it just that there is a greater chance of a ‘natural-born’ Samaritan being there?

45 Diffusion of Responsibility
Groups of three passengers were present 6 times and groups of seven passengers were present 5 times Hypothetical (Control) groups of three or seven passengers were constructed by combining information from smaller groups E.g 1+2=3, 1+6=7, 2+5=7, 3+4=7 The latency from the faster of the two real groups were used as the hypothetical latency


47 Reason for lack of support for Diffusion of Responsibility
In Darley and Latane’s experiment the victim could not be seen

48 Conclusions An individual who appears to be ill is more likely to receive aid than is one who appears to be drunk, even when the immediate help needed is of the same kind. Given mixed groups of men and women, and a male victim, men are more likely to help than are women. Given mixed racial groups, there is some tendency for same-race helping to be more frequent. This tendency is increased when the victim is drunk as compared to apparently ill.

49 The longer the emergency continues without help being offered
(a) the less impact a model has on the helping behaviour of observers; (b) the more likely it is that individuals will leave the immediate area; that is, they appear to move purposively to another area in order to avoid the situation; (c) the more likely it is that observers will discuss the incident and its implications for their behaviour.

50 There is no strong relationship between number of bystanders and speed of helping; the expected increased "diffusion of responsibility" with a greater number of bystanders was not obtained for groups of these sizes. That is, help is not less frequent or slower in coming from larger as compared to smaller groups of bystanders, what effect there is, is in the opposite direction.

51 Proposed model Observation of an emergency increases arousal
Arousal is interpreted as fear, disgust, sympathy or a combination of these

52 Arousal is higher when You can empathise with the victim
You are close to a victim The emergency continues for a long time

53 Arousal is reduced when
Help is given directly You go to get help You leave the scene of the emergency You reject the victim as undeserving of your help

54 The costs of helping Effort Embarrassment
Possible disgusting or distasteful experiences Possible physical harm

55 The costs of not helping
Self-blame Perceived censure from others

56 Rewards of helping Praise from self Praise from victim
Praise from others

57 Rewards of not helping You are able to continue with other activities

58 Does altruism exist? According to Piliavin’s model we help others purely for selfish reasons Mainly to reduce our anxiety or guilt Not a very positive way of looking at why humans help each other

59 Fitting the results to the model
Cost of helping drunk is high (greater disgust) and cost of not helping is low (less self-blame as he does not deserve your help) Women help less because cost of helping is high (great effort) and cost of not helping is low (nobody would blame a woman for not helping)

60 Fitting the results to the model
Same-race helping explained as less censure for not helping a victim of opposite race and greater fear of a misunderstanding if help is given to a member of another race Diffusion of responsibility not shown because greater censure for not helping when group is large and greater danger when group is small

61 Fitting the results to the model
The longer the emergency continues the greater the arousal A late model elicits less helping as passengers have had time to reason away the arousal More people leave as time goes on as arousal is increasing unless already reduced by other means More comments made as time goes on in an attempt to reduce arousal

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