This week, we continue on with our breakdown as we discuss Passage 7 of Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)’s full length 10 Psych/Soc.
Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)’s Clara is joining us again as we dive into group psychology which is huge on the MCAT. Particularly, this passage is about the bystander effect. It’s the idea of helping others under different circumstances.
[01:55] Passage 7
Researchers sought to investigate the impact context has on helping behaviors. In a seminary college, researchers conducted an experiment in which 42 student participants were told researchers were assessing their view and their performance on a task. Participants first completed measures assessing personality variables. The participants were then told they were to report to another building to give a talk on a topic. Half of the participants were told they would be giving a talk on being a Good Samaritan, a Biblical parable involving an individual who helps another person. The other participants were told to give a talk about employment for students. In addition, one-third of the students were told that they should hurry to the talk, one-third were told they had sufficient time, and one-third were told they had more than sufficient time to arrive.
Researchers planted a confederate, who appeared to be in distress, coughing severely and appearing to be in need of help. Participants encountered this individual on the way to their talk. Researchers observed and recorded whether or not the participant stopped to help this individual. Researchers classified helping behavior by type of talk (Samaritan or Occupation) and by the level of urgency (Hurry, Sufficient, More than Sufficient). The researchers found that the type of talk and level of urgency both significantly impacted helping behavior. The results are presented as follows.
Figure 1 shown. (Percent of participants who helped the confederate by type of talk and level of urgency)
[04:12] Question 37
Participants who did not help may have believed other students would help. What dynamic does this attitude represent?
(A) Availability heuristic
(B) Cognitive dissonance
(C) Differential association
(D) Diffusion of responsibility
The correct answer here is D. As easy at it sounds, but it’s correct. It’s not a guarantee but it stands to your favor. With the bystander effect, part of it is the diffusion of responsibility.
Availability heuristic is a mental shortcut. This has the tendency to use information that’s available to us. So it’s not relevant here.
Cognitive dissonance refers to an uncomfortable mental state that people fall into when their behaviors and attitude don’t line up.
Differential association is a theory that relates to why certain people develop criminal tendencies. This is definitely not relevant here either.
[07:05] Question 38
Which of the following would NOT increase the likelihood of a participant helping the confederate?
(A) If participants viewed helping the confederate as being more rewarding than the talk
(B) If another individual expressed concern about the confederate
(C) The confederate appearing to be in a different school than the participant
(D) The participant being familiar with that area of campus
The correct answer here is C. This is an example of a question where you don’t really need to know some terms. In fact, they can be answered with common sense. Here, you can think about the concept of ingroups vs outgroups. People in the same school would be the ingroup while the people different from their school would be the outgroup. And in general, we don’t really treat members of the outgroup as well as we would treat members of the ingroup.
[09:50] Question 39
According to the study, what effect might being told to give a talk on the Good Samaritan have had on participants?
(A) Decreased empathic response
(B) Priming effect of helping behavior
(C) Increased conditioned response
(D) Inhibition of startle response
The correct answer here is B. Priming effect is where you present someone with some idea or visual. Then you ask them later, you can impact or lead their behaviors by priming them earlier. Startle response is just random. Increased condition response is related to classical conditioning.
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