Subway Sociology

Because of the abundance of social interaction and diverse clientele, subways have long been the sites of sociological experiments to understand human behavior.
November 25, 2009, 2pm PST | Alek Miller
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

"The crucial context for many of the 1970s studies was the Queens murder of Kitty Genovese, whose cries for help were purportedly ignored by her neighbors. The Genevose story became the ur-narrative of uncaring urban pathology (even if its details were later called into question). The subway offered a perfect testing ground for the emerging subfield of 'bystander studies.' The aforementioned 'Good Samaritan' paper, for example, had a Columbia University student stagger and collapse on a subway train, 'looking supine at the ceiling.' In some trials, the subject acted drunk; in others, ill. (People were more likely to help in the latter condition.) Interestingly, that study found no support for the so-called 'diffusion of responsibility' effect-the idea, per the Genovese murder, that the more bystanders were present, the less likely it was that any one person would help. In fact, the reverse was found."

Thanks to Streetsblog LA

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 in Slate
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email