Why You Might Help That Stranger

There are countless behaviours humans have adopted over time – for such goals of survival, defence and pro-creation. How humans relate to one another, and more specifically care for and protect each other, is key to their survival and maintaining relationships.

How do humans react in situations when others are in need? When or why do people help strangers? Do humans feel responsible for the lives of others? This design concept for Art Meets Science displays what people think when presented with situations to help fellow humans.

To visually represent these key concepts of Social Psychology, I created the two graphics above. To view them, click each individually for a larger image. The title of this series is “Why you might help that stranger: Psychological Explorations in the Common Phenomenon of Altruism and Assistance”.


The Common Phenomenon of Altruism and Assistance

A variety of theories were used in the creation of these pieces . One includes the Arousal: Cost-Reward Theory and the other includes Empathy-Altruism Helping Theory; along with the concepts of Altruism, Assistance and the Bystander Effect.

For example, one factor for a person helping another are the costs involved (if the costs of assisting are low, and the costs of not assisting are high, the bystander will definitely choose to help – however, if the costs of not assisting are low, the bystander may not help at all) as well as who else is around (if many people are there, this may lead to diffusion of responsibility for example [Garcia et al., 2002). A simple factor such as whether or not a victim asks for help varies people’s reactions immensely (without the victim asking directly, less than half as many people would stop to help [Yakimovich & Saltz, 1971]).

Through this design it is evident that overall, people have the capacity and desire to help. There are many factors that influence people’s decisions, including everything from stress level to the responses of others.

Through positive reinforcement by society, encouragement and a social conscious, humans can help make the world a better place for all.