October 05, 2022

What is the purpose of psychology research?

In 1964, a case occurred in New York, USA-at three o’clock in the morning on March 13, a young girl Kitty was attacked by a gangster on her way home.

The attack lasted for half an hour. At that time, at least 38 residents heard Kitty’s cry for help, and some even walked to the window to watch for a long time, but no one offered help to Kitty, not even People call 911 to report the case in time. In the end, Kitty was wounded with more than ten knives and died.

After the case occurred, the media began to report on large lengths and loudly criticized the world’s deteriorating situation, the unrest of the people, and the increasingly indifferent and cold-blooded people in big cities.

Among those concerned about this case, there are two psychologists, John Dalai and Bubi Latane. After the two of them were shocked, they began to explore the psychological reasons behind the case-what caused the onlooker and indifference of the 38 residents and indirectly caused Kitty’s death?

Dalai and Latane designed an experiment and invited 59 college students to participate in this experiment.

Next, you can imagine that you are one of the participants and come to this laboratory. A gentle and polite staff member tells you that the purpose of this activity is to convene everyone to discuss the “problems of personal adaptation to university life”. Because the topic has a certain degree of privacy, everyone is taken to a single room to communicate with others through microphones and headphones, and the outside world cannot know your communication.

The experiment has three different settings-first, you chat with another person alone; second, you chat with two people; third, you chat with three people (of course, all participants stay in their own Single room).

The communication in front was very smooth. Just when you were talking about college life with the other person in great interest, you suddenly heard the sound from the earphones and began to intermittently. The person on the other end said he was “somewhat uncomfortable” and made a few painful noises. moan.

You remembered that in the previous small talk, someone else accidentally talked about this person suffering from severe epilepsy. Once the onset of the disease and the lack of timely treatment, his life would be in danger.

If, at this moment, you are communicating with him on a single line, and no one else can see or hear him, would you rush out of the room to rescue him in the first place?

I think you probably will.

If, at this moment, in addition to you, someone else also heard his voice and unexpected situation, would you rush out of the room to rescue him without hesitation?

I think you probably…may or may not.

The results of the experiment are very thought-provoking.

Under such unexpected circumstances, if you are the only witness, you are 85% likely to take immediate action, and the reaction time only takes 52 seconds;

If two people are present at the same time, your chances of helping each other are reduced to 62%, and the reaction time is extended to 93 seconds;

If there are three witnesses, you are only 31% likely to help each other, and the time to react is extended to 100 seconds.

The research of John Dalley and Bobby Latane confirmed that Kitty’s death was not merely “indifferent” and “cold-blooded”.

Next, combining this experiment and the story behind it, let’s talk about the purpose of psychology research. Simply put, it can be summarized in eight words-description, explanation, prediction, and control.

Description: What is it?

Combined with the results of psychological experiments, John Dalai and Bobby Latane came to a conclusion-the more witnesses of an emergency, the fewer people are willing to help, and the longer it takes to consider whether to provide help. .

This is the well-known “bystander effect”. The more people watching, the less likely we are to help others. This is a description of a psychological phenomenon and an interpretation of Kitty’s case.

Explanation: Why?

Why are so many people present, but no one helps? If you were one of the parties, how would you answer? Maybe you will hesitate to say, I think that even if I don’t help, someone else will help.

With the increase in the number of people, the opportunity to provide help no longer falls on you with no shirk, but is evenly distributed among multiple witnesses. This kind of “dispersion of responsibilities” is the root cause of the “bystander effect” One.

This is why in Kitty’s case, a couple thought that someone had already called the police, so they took two chairs and sat at the window watching the progress of the violence, but did not dial a 911 in person.

Forecast: What will happen in the future?

Understand the existence and reasons of psychological phenomena, and then we can predict the future (of course, this is a prediction from probability, not a “master”).

Suppose you are walking on a busy street with people who are in a hurry and you don’t know each other. You suddenly feel suffocated, yell “Help” towards the sky, and then lie on the road. .

Guess, will there be a fairy sister and a conch girl who will send you to the hospital without saying anything?

Young man, wake up, according to the “bystander effect”, in this case, you are less likely to receive timely help.

Control: what to do?

Now that we have understood the existence and cause of a certain psychological phenomenon, and can also predict the development trend, can we go further and control or change the external world according to the expected result? This is the fourth purpose of psychology.

If you really fall into the “bystander effect” situation, this problem is not unsolvable. Robert Cialdini has already given a solution in “Influence”-

You can pick a person from the crowd, stare at him, point to him, and tell him clearly and directly: “You, gentleman in a blue jacket, I need help. Please call 120 for me.”

After such actions and expressions, your chances of getting help will increase a lot.

In addition, in addition to the above four goals, in recent years, some scholars have proposed the fifth goal of psychological research-to improve the quality of human life.

I think this is one of the reasons why most people are interested in psychology.

We want to understand the knowledge of psychology, not because of the urgent need to earn a living, nor do we want to become so-called experts and scholars, but we hope that we can use the inspiration of psychology to have more awareness and understanding of ourselves, and be able to learn Look at self, growth, love, friendship and family from a new perspective, and create a better life for yourself.