Physical attractiveness, the severity of the emergency and helping: A field experiment and interpersonal simulation

Stephen G. West, T. Jan Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effects of the severity of the emergency and the physical attractiveness of the solicitor (victim) on helping behavior were investigated in a field experiment and corresponding interpersonal simulation. In the field experiment, male subjects were approached by a physically attractive or unattractive female solicitor who asked for money for a tetanus injection under high or low severity of emergency conditions. Subjects donated more money to the solicitor when the severity of emergency was high. Additionally, the physically attractive solicitor received more money than the unattractive solicitor, but only when the severity of the emergency was high. In the interpersonal simulation, male subjects given a detailed description of one of the conditions of field experiment were unable to fully reproduce the findings of the experiment. The results are discussed in terms of the Piliavins' two-stage model of the helping process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-538
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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