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An explanation of Mr. Buckley's helping behaviour- A social Psychological perspective.

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An explanation of Mr. Buckley's helping behaviour- A social Psychological perspective. The murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964 caused a national outcry. Although her death was horrific, the public could not believe the police reported 38 people witnessing the incident yet not one person took any action. The dismay this caused prompted Psychologists to study the factors involved in helping behaviour. Helping behaviour may be defined as "an intentional act to benefit someone else". (Hogg and Vaughan, 1995, cited in Hogg and Vaughan, 2002, p 280). Other related terms are altruism and prosocial behaviour. Each terms definition emphasises different aspects of the behaviour, particularly the motive for helping. At present, there is not a universally accepted definition of helping behaviour. The number of terms in use reflects this disparity. This essay will provide various social explanations of the helping behaviour demonstrated by Mr. Buckley. Main conclusions are the theory proposed by ? seems to account for the cited behaviour more effectively than the alternatives discussed below. The cognitive model of bystander intervention (Latane and Darley, 1970, cited in Hogg and Vaughan, 2002) suggests a person makes a series of judgements ultimately leading to the refusal or implementation of help. ...read more.


It may appear they are asleep. Even if bystanders do realise the person is unconscious due to alcohol, they still may not offer help. A belief he or she deserves to get whatever the outcome is may arise as the situation they are in is seen as self-inflicted. This explanation of not intervening to help is known as the just-world hypothesis. Alternatively, this notion is reflected in the saying, "What goes around comes around". By speculation, Mr. Buckley may have thought the minibus was travelling to fast and so deserved to crash. If this were true, it still did not stop him from helping. Perhaps other factors overcame this thought to prompt him to help. Alternatively, there may have been a sharp bend that the driver did not gauge properly so he may have thought this was not intentionally self-inflicted behaviour and helped. Pilliavin's bystander-calculus model may account for Mr. Buckley's helping behaviour. Arousal caused by witnessing an emergency needs to be defined as negative and cause significant distress to the individual before help is considered. Mr. Buckley reported he "thought the bus was full of kids-My stomach sank. I felt sick....."This physiological state is clearly unpleasant and distressing. A final cost-reward analysis is calculated. ...read more.


Another point worth noting is would time available really be considered if you had just witnessed such a frightening event as a minibus crash? Different levels of stress are likely to be involved in witnessing a minibus crashing and someone falling over. A minibus crash may be considered a more horrific and unusual event compared to this. Participants in Darley and Batson's study may have had more time to consider if they had time themselves to stop and help as the incident was not that urgent. Mr. Buckley was in a more serious incident that involved the need for a quicker decision to be made. If he had not done this, the minibus would have likely fallen over the edge of the cliff. This demonstrates experimental evidence may be lacking in ecological validity and can not always be applied to real life. Gender can influence helping behaviour as well. Latane and Dabbs, (1975), discovered males are more likely to help females than the other way round. Mr. Buckley did help a female although he did not know the gender of the driver until after he had decided to help. However, hearing cries for help would have indicated a female from cues in her voice. This may have helped in the final stages of consolidating the decision to help. 1 ...read more.

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