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To study people’s willingness to help others, social psychologists Latané and Darley (1968) invited people to complete questionnaires in a lab room. After handing out the questionnaires, the female experimenter went next door and staged a loud accident: She pretended to fall off a chair and get hurt (she actually played an audio recording of this accident). Then the experimenters observed whether each participant stopped filling out the questionnaire and went to try to help the “victim.”
Behind the scenes, the experimenters had flipped a coin to assign participants randomly to either an “alone” group, in which they were in the questionnaire room by themselves, or a “passive confederate” group, in which they were in the questionnaire room with a confederate (an actor) who sat impassively during the “accident” and did not attempt to help the “victim.”
In the end, Latané and Darley found that when participants were alone, 70% reacted, but when participants were with a passive confederate, only 7% reacted. This experiment supported the researchers’ theory that during an accident, people take cues from others, looking to others to decide how to interpret the situation.
What are the independent, dependent, and control variables in this study?
Sketch a graph of the results of this study.
Is the independent variable in this study manipulated as independent-groups or as repeated-measures? How do you know?
For this study, ask at least one question for each of the four validities.