SocialSocial Cognition

Responsibility of Strangers

In this ABC news clip editors from What Would You Do? conduct a social experiment about the attribution theory. In the first part of the experiment Havala, an actor, sits on the beach, sets up an iPod radio, and then leaves.

While she is away, a man (part of the experiment) comes by and steals her iPod radio. Neighboring people on the beach say and do nothing. In the second experiment, Havala chats with the people next to her. The man steals the radio again and one of the people she spoke with followed the culprit. In the third experiment, Havala acts obnoxiously but still receives help when the man steals her radio. In a second set of experiments, they use Shea who is an attractive and well-dressed woman.

How do her neighbors react when the culprit takes her radio the first time? How does Carrie Keating explain their actions?

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