Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Human Behavior Experiments Bystanders and Emergency Situations

In class, we learned that because of the bystander effect, a person who is in emergency is more likely to be helped by others when there is only one witness than when there are several. Also, the text book says, "people are less likely to help in urban areas than in rural ones." Bibb Latane and Judith Rodin at Columbia University conducted a study about Inhibiting Effects of Friends and Strangers on Bystander Intervention, and explained that the reason is because "there are too many strangers in cities." In their study, each participant was assigned to fill out a questionnaire in one of four situations: 1. alone in the testing room, 2. with an unresponsive confederate of the experimenter, 3. with another participant who was a stranger, 4. with a friend. While they were filling out their questionnaires, a loud sound of an accident and scream were heard from the representative's office. The result showed that the most helpful situations were when the participant was alone, and when he was with a friend; 70% of the participants in both cases helped out. In contrast, 40% of the participants with strangers, and only 7 % of those with the unresponsive confederates offered help. This result explains that people in rural areas are more helpful, because not only there are less people, but also they are more likely to know each other than people in large cities do.