• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Much research on helping behaviour can be criticised as being ethnocentric, conducted in the USA alone.

Extracts from this document...


Much research on helping behaviour can be criticised as being ethnocentric, conducted in the USA alone. Thus, the studies are rather limited in terms of the lack of variety in the people studied. Latane and Darley were the first to systematically investigate the circumstances under which bystander's are/are not likely to intervene to help others, and promote pro-social behaviour. However, we must be cautious not to generalise the findings to other cultures. We cannot assume that the same circumstances apply equally to any human population. The tendency to make this assumption is something we need to be very aware of when drawing broad conclusions regarding pro-social behaviour from a limited sample. This implication highlights the need for cross-cultural research into pro-social behaviour. Each cultural group has social norms. Cultures also share values, which specify what kinds of pro-social behaviour are considered desirable. We all need to go through the processes of socialisation to acquire the norms and values relevant to our culture. If we behave differently from the prescribed cultural norms, there are likely to be negative consequences, such as disapproval of others. ...read more.


This contrasts with Fiske's findings, since it has now been shown that people will offer help to those who live outside the culture. A further study has investigated the effect of specific cultural beliefs. L'Armand and Pepitone (1975) compared altruistic behaviour in the US and India. The attitudes to and beliefs about helping in the two cultures were also explored. The findings were found to be in contrast to what would be predicted from the individualistic versus collectivist distinction. Americans were in general more altruistic than Indians, however, only in low-cost situations. In addition, there was a cultural belief among Indians that all types of rewards are fixed and limited; so one person's gain is another's loss. Therefore, this study demonstrates the influence of cultural beliefs and attitudes and how they can affect helping behaviour. There has also been a certain amount of research focussing on the effect sub-cultural differences has in helping behaviour within a particular culture and, in particular, differences between classes. Muir and Weinstein (1962) studied middle-class and lower-class women in the USA, questioning them regarding helping behaviour and the principles that they used in deciding whether or not to help. ...read more.


As before, the kibbutz dwellers were most likely to seek help, and US immigrants and Israel urban dwellers less likely to do so. The USSR immigrants, from a predominantly collectivistic culture, were least likely to seek help. This can be explained adequately, since USSR citizens tend only to seek help from those to whom they felt close and intimate, avoiding interactions outside this small circle of family and friends. In conclusion, conflicting results from laboratory and field studies of helping behaviour tends to question the significance of culture differences on pro-social behaviour. Laboratory studies, particularly those involving American participants, tend to emphasise that people will avoid the need to request help as far as possible. In contrast, field studies, particularly those involving participants from Asian cultures, emphasise that people will sacrifice time and effort in order to attend to those that deserve help (Wills, 1992). However, these conflicting results may not simply be the product of cultural differences alone. Moreover, lab-based studies tend to lack the social context of seeking help. Faced with a limited time period with anonymous fellow participants, there would seem little point in attempting to develop a social relationship in such an artificial context. In the real world, however, people actively seek out the help of others to extend their social relationships (Moghaddam 1998) ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    What are ideal types? How useful are they in helping us to understand contemporary ...

    for causal relationships, Weber distinguished between the social and natural sciences and therefore moved away from what he considered to be the positivist pretence of a completely objective 'science' of sociology. Webers belief was that it is futile to aspire to complete objectivity because all knowledge about the world is

  2. Pro and Anti Social Behaviour

    The others (India, Japan, Philippines and Mexico) were in-between the two extremes. This shows that there are significant cross-cultural differences in pro-social behaviour. Further evidence which supports the claim (i.e. that individualistic cultures stress the need for independence whereas collectivist cultures stress the need for interdependence)

  1. Psychology Questions Ansewered

    However some psychology seems to have no use at all. Using the studies from the list below, answer the questions which follow. Loftus and Palmer (eyewitness testimony) Deregowski (perception) Samuel and Bryant (conservation) Hraba and Grant (doll choice) What do these studies tell us that is useful?

  2. Ms. Elizabeth Vagas ABC Broadcasting - Avenue of the Americans.

    He was living there for five weeks, so even when he wasn't aware of this fact at the beginning, he had enough time to change his mind. If he wanted to avoid the hazing, and he certainly knew of it after one month, he would have just gone.

  1. A study was conducted to see if there are gender differences in how aggressive ...

    Detailed descriptions of behaviour are obtained and are interpreted. It uses both current and previous behaviour. This method was chosen because information from a child's past; including how they were deprived of a normal upbringing can be used. It can also link possible cause and effects to the children's feral behaviour.

  2. whether leading questions can affect a person's memory of a question and insert an ...

    the object was not present in the picture. Method Design The experiment was conducted as a field experiment due to the fact that Loftus' study lacked ecological validity as it took place in laboratory settings. Conducting a field experiment for the study therefore increased its ecological validity. The more natural surroundings increased confidence in results and allowed the results to be generalised.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work