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Outline Research Relating To Human Altruism Andor

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Outline Research Relating To Human Altruism And/or Bystander Behaviour Essay, Research Paper

(b)Assess the effects of cultural differences on such behaviour

A number of studies have been

carried out into bystander behaviour. There has been research into the

influence of situational factors, the nature of the helper, the nature of the

victim and into how the victim is perceived by the helper. Latanane and Darley

produced a five-stage model of bystander behaviour to try to explain why people

help or not. The attribution theory and causal schemata theory (Kelly 1973)

were introduced to try to explain how we make attributions about a situation.

Piliavin has created a model of bystander behaviour called the cost/benefit

model. All of these theories and studies show how and why people help others in

certain situations. ??????????? Latanane and

Darley carried out research into the influence of situational factors on

helping behaviour/bystander behaviour. They asked male college students to sit

in a waiting room and fill in a questionnaire believing that they were about to

take part in a study about people?s attitude towards urban life. The subjects

were either alone or in groups of three. Smoke was poured through a small vent

in the wall and the subjects reactions were watched for six minutes. When

people were on their own within two minutes 50% reported smoke and 75% reported

it within six minutes. When the subjects were in groups only 12% reported smoke

within two minutes and 38% within six minutes. 62% carries on working for six

minutes although the room was full of smoke. The people who were working

together claimed that they were looking to each other for guidance as to how to

behave. Because non of them knew how to behave no one had moved and the

situation was redefined as a harmless one. This redefinition of the situation

was called ?pluralistic ignorance? and this can only occur when the subjects

are not fully aware of all the facts of the situation. This shows the effects

of group influence on people?s behaviour. The group all looked to each other

how to behave and resented working independently. ??????????? The number of

bystanders also affects whether people help or not. Latanane (1981) suggests

that the responsibility is shifted when many witnesses are present so more

witnesses can actually mean less helping. This is called the social impact

theory. Darley and Latanane (1968) conducted a study into the number of

bystanders and how they affect helping. Subjects were supposed to be discussing

social problems with other participants over an intercom system heard what they

believed to be one of the group having a seizure. He was trying to explain that

he had seizures in times of stress. They measured who helped within four

minutes. When the subjects believed that there were two in the group 85% tried

to help, when there were 3 in the group 62% tried to help and when there were 5

other people in the group only 31% intervened. They concluded that the

participants had a conflict between a fear of making fools of themselves and

ruining the experiment by over reacting and their own guilt and shame at doing

nothing. In Latanane and Darley?s experiment the other people?s behaviour could

not be observed and said that someone must have intervened. Latanane and

Darley?s experiment showed dissolution rather than diffusion of responsibility.

This study is therefore not useful for showing the effects of diffusion of

responsibility. Milgram (1970) also proposed a theory

called the stimulus overload theory. This suggested that people in cities are

so used to emergency situations that they treat them as normal everyday ones.

These situations occur more often so people don?t help. People from smaller

towns however do not see this emergencies so often so are more likely to help

as it attracts more attention. This is supported by Gelfand et al. (1973).

People from larger towns and cities are less likely to help because it

interferes with people?s privacy which is more difficult to find in cities

(Milgram, 1973). The proximity of the bystanders is said to have an adverse

effect on people?s potential helpfulness. The Social Impact theory by Latanane

(1981) also says that as the remoteness between the bystander and the victim

increases then the less responsible the bystander feels. E.g., someone asking

for donations on the telephone is less likely to get any than someone asking in

the street face-to-face. Piliavin (1969) showed that people were just as likely

to help on a crowded subway as an un-crowded one showing that people found it

harder to refuse help in a face-to-face situation such as an enclosed subway. ??????????? Latanane and

Darley created a cognitive 5 stage model of helping behaviour to show how

people decide whether to help in a situation or not. If the bystander answers

no to any question then no help will be given. The model starts off with

whether the bystander notices the event, if so is it an emergency, they then

have to assume responsibility and decide that they know what to do. If they get

this far then the have to implement their decision and help the person in need.

They have several reasons why people decide no: ·

Diffusion of responsibility ? the responsibility for

helping is being shared with other people around. ·

Pluralistic ignorance ? other people not responding

makes us think that the situation is not an emergency. ·

Perceived competence ? whether you think you can deal

with the situation. Piliavin et al. (1969) conducted a study

called the Good Samaritan study. This was to investigate the effects on the

speed and amount of help given of the type of victim, the race of the victim,

the presence of helping models and the size of the group witnessing. The

experimenters used victims who were black and white and all ages, they were

instructed to collapse after 70 seconds and remain on the floor until they were

helped. A model was instructed to help after 70 seconds if nobody else did.

Over 93% helped before the model arrived, 60% involved more than one helper. No

diffusion of responsibility occurred with increased group sizes. A victim

appearing ill received more help than someone who appeared drunk. 100% helped

the person with the cane and 81% helped the drunken victim, help was also

offered more quickly for the cane victim. It was found that men were more

likely to help than women were. The longer the emergency went on without any

help being offered the less impact the model had and the more bystanders were

likely to leave the area. The findings don?t support Latanane and Darley?s

study because there was diffusion of responsibility with increased group size

with Latanane and Darley but not with Piliavin. In emergencies people look to

other to see how to act. The nature of the helper and the nature of

the victim are shown to also have an effect on whether we help or not. Mood,

sex, personality and the physical state of the helper can influence a person?s

decision. If people are particularly caring and have a natural tendency to help

then they will do so. Whether the helper feels self-conscious will affect

whether they help and what their personal feelings and views are. If the person

is a strong racist or is very against people drinking then they are less likely

to help them. Isen (1984) said that people don?t help others when they are in a

good mood because they don?t want to spoil the good mood they are in. Likewise,

someone in a bad mood might help alleviate the bad feeling, especially due to

guilt, by helping someone. This is described as the negative state relief

hypothesis. Piliavin et al. (1969) said that men are more likely to help than

women and Bickman (1974) found that women were less likely to give money to a

stranger and other studies have found that females are reluctant to help.

McGovern (1976) said that people who fear embarrassment are less likely to

help. Bierhoff et al. (1991) drew up a table of personality traits of people

who would help and who were less likely to help. Psychologists have been

unsuccessful in pinpointing a certain personality type most likely to give

help. Steels and Southwick (1985) showed that people who had consumed more

alcohol were more likely to help others because the alcohol reduces inhibitions

and the awareness of potential dangers. The nature of the victim influences the

helpfulness of the bystander too. ?Deservingness? of help, the seriousness of

the situation, the victim?s physical appearance, their race, how similar they

are to the helper and their general appearance are all influential factors.

Piliavin et al. (1969) conducted a study in a railway carriage in which a

stooge collapsed, sometimes carrying a cane and other times with a brown paper

bag and a jacket smelling of alcohol. The victim with the cane received more

help (90% within 70 seconds) than the victim with the bag (20%). Another

experiment by Piliavin (1972) did an experiment where someone collapsed and bit

a capsule of red dye to resemble blood. The amount of help was reduced to 60%

and people sought the help of others who they saw as being more able to cope

with the situation. They also studied the effects of the victim having a

birthmark on their face. Helping dropped from 86% when the victim was

disfigured to 61% when they were. West et al. (1975) found a black person who

had broken down in a car received help from 97% of people who were black. When

the victim was white, they received help from white people. Piliavin (1969)

found that there was a slight racial bias if the victim was drunk. WE are more

likely to help people who we see as being similar to ourselves, accounting for

the racial bias that has been found. People who are dressed smartly are more

likely to receive help than someone who is untidy (Bickman, 1974). Victims are

more likely to be helped if they are seen as deserving causes rather than the

cause of their own misfortune, like the drunken people in Piliavin?s study. The causal schemata theory proposed by Kelly

(1973), is when we make attributions about a situation using our previous

schema, we take the obvious explanation or situation without considering other

causes. We use stored information that has come from our schemas to make sense

of a situation. We seem to use the ?discounting principle? meaning that we

discount all other possible causes in favour of the one most familiar to us.

Fiske and Taylor (1991) said that we use a ?causal shorthand? to explain

behaviour, our own or other peoples, quickly. As Piliavin said we are more

likely to help people who are seen as deserving. This causal schemata theory

links to this because if we know someone who has been in the same situation or

we have then we will remember this and help them because we know how they feel.

If we see someone in trouble then we use our past experiences (stored in

schema) to decide whether to help them, if we have been in the same or similar

situation then we will have the relevant schema. Piliavin et al. (1981) proposed the

Arousal: Cost-Reward model to explain how people in social situations weigh up

the costs and benefits of behaving in a particular way. It suggests that people

work through three stages when they come across a person in need: 1. Physiological

arousal ? when seeing someone in need we experience certain physiological

responses e.g. increased heart rate, sweating. 2. Labelling

the arousal ? physiological arousal can lead to someone labelling it as

distress or empathy but Piliavin believed that empathy was a more likely

response. 3. Evaluating

the consequences ? we weigh up the costs and benefits of helping people or not. The model emphasises the interaction between two sets of

factors: situation, bystander and victim characteristics and cognitive and

affective reactions. Situational characteristics are things like the victim

asking for help or not. Bystander characteristics include trait factors (e.g.

whether the person is empathic or not) and state factors (e.g. whether the

potential helper is in a good mood or not). Victim characteristics include such

as the victims appearance and race. Whether helping occurs depends on how the

potential helper interprets their arousal. If the arousal is associated with

the victims distress then helping is more likely to occur because the distress in

unpleasant (Batson and Coke, 1981). The way in which the distress is relieved

depends on the rewards involved in helping and not helping. Piliavin is

suggesting that people weigh up the costs and benefits of helping and not

helping and this hedonic calculus determines whether they help or not. Rewards

from helping can be enhanced self-esteem or even financial reward. Rewards for

not helping can be free time and the ability to carry on normally (Darley and

Batson, 1973). The costs of helping someone can be the loss of time, effort,

physical danger, embarrassment and disruption of normal everyday activity. The

costs of not helping can be guilt, disapproval from others and discomfort (both

cognitive and emotional) associated with knowing that another person is

suffering. When the costs of helping and the costs of not helping are both low

then the likelihood of someone helping is quite high but the bystanders

personal differences, expectations and norms will influence their final

decision. ??????????? Piliavin?s

model tries to accommodate much of the previous research on the situational

influences and helper. The model is therefore quite useful to bring all the

research together but doesn?t take into account some influences such as the

helper?s state of mind. It does draw all the previous research together so

accounts for most factors. The causal schemata theory by Kelly only takes into

account the past experience of the helper and doesn?t allow for the possible

ambiguity of the situation or the mood of the helper. Although past experiences

are important in influencing our behaviour they aren?t the only thing that does

as this theory suggests.b) Assess the effects

of cultural difference on such behaviour. In some cultures, collectivist ones for example,

people are more likely to seek help than those from more individualistic

cultures like a large city according to Nadler (1986). People from collectivist

cultures like the Soviet Union are more likely to seek help from those they are

close to and won?t look for help outside their own small circle of family and

friends. People are therefore willing to help in these cultures but the help

won?t always be accepted if it is not from someone within the same society.

Therefore helping behaviour is less likely to occur in individualist cultures.

The problems with labelling societies as individualist and collectivist are

what is collectivist and what is individualist? What is classed as a society?

And if the culture is ?collectivist? then how do you study the behaviour

because the researcher wouldn?t be part of the culture. Feldman (1968) found that foreigners in Greece

asking a favour were more likely to receive help than if they were locals. This

shows that, as Collett and O?Shea (1976) found foreigners are seen as more

important and worthy of help than the locals are. Helping behaviour is more

likely to occur in these places when the people being offered help are

foreigners. This shows that people see outsiders as more worthy of help than

the local people. This contrasts with Nadler?s findings who said that help was

only offered to people from within the same culture. Gender also has an effect on whether people ask for

and receive help or not. Moghaddam (1998) found twice the number of women than

men in the US and Britain seek help for depression. Weissman et al. (1991)

discovered that male alcoholics outnumbered female alcoholics. In different

cultures women and men are treated differently, there are certain expectations

on both men and women that vary from culture to culture. In Western society men

are expected to be ?tough? and independent whereas women are expected to be ?in

need? therefore preventing men from seeking help as much as women. This

supports Piliavin who said that men were more likely to help than women because

if women are seen as in need and men are tough then women aren?t seen as being

able to help and men should be seen to be helping to fulfil this stereotype. In India, according to Miler and Bershoff (1998) the

Indians were just as likely to help someone they didn?t like as someone they

did like compared to the Americans who were less likely to help someone they

didn?t like. In collectivist cultures everybody lives together to survive and

support each other. In individualist cultures e.g. a large city everybody goes about

their own business and gets on with their own lives. They are, therefore,? less likely to ask for or receive help

because it is seen as interfering and infringing on a person?s privacy

especially as it is hard to find in a large city (Milgram, 1977). The findings of the laboratory and field studies on

helping behaviour are conflicting. Laboratory studies especially those done

with Americans, show that people will go out of their way to avoid seeking help

from others. Field studies, on the other hand, show that people, especially

Asians, will go out of their way to seek help. This is not down to cultural

differences alone. People in a laboratory situation will interpret the

situation differently to people in a natural setting. The natural setting will

reduce demand characteristics and has more ecological validity therefore this

will be reflected in the findings. In the real world people actively seek out

the help of others to extend their social relationships (Moghaddam, 1998) Different cultures expect different things and

people within these cultures are brought up with different values that comply

to ?the norm? of that particular culture e.g. females are ?in need? and males

are ?tough? and ?independent?. In other cultures, women are expected to work for

a living e.g. Israel but in more European cultures, women are expected to stay

at home and look after the children. The expectations of a particular culture

will influence whether a person helps another or not and whether they seek

help. The person?s personality, both the potential helper and the ?victim? will

also influence the helping behaviour and the extent of the helping behaviour.

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