Research a Helping behavior

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There are many forms of helping behavior, but for this paper we will be looking at door holding. Many researchers have looked into the helping behavior of door holding and we will look at this research. There have been a lot of studies done on how weather affects whether or not someone will help another person (Gueguen, & Stefan, 2013).

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It has been shown that when there is sunshine it influences human social relationships (Gueguen & Stefan, 2013). This means more helping behavior. One study looked at how weather affects mood, which in turn will determine whether, or not someone will do a helping behavior. In this study done by Michael R. Cunningham, he mentions that the current weather will in fact affect two things. It will affect emotion and it will also affect social behavior (1979). Scientists have shown that indeed when the sun is out, it creates good emotions, which we will then have people with good moods (Gueguen & Stefan, 2013).

If you think about it, this makes sense. It depends who you are as a person. We may just assume people will be most affected by bad weather, such as, being cold, raining and snowing. This may be true for some people. There are also people who really can’t handle hot weather. Sunshine also is a factor to whether, or not someone will be willing to help someone. According to one article from Nicolas Gueguen and Lubomir Lamy, when there is sunshine it affects someone’s social interactions and their emotions (2013). It is found that a person’s helping behavior is related and varies in weather (Gueguen & Lamy, 2013). There is a good chance that when the sun is shining, people have more of a positive emotional state, and they are in a good moods (Gueguen & Lamy, 2013). When people are in the positives emotional state and good mood they are more willing to help someone (Gueguen & Lamy, 2013).

Weather can affect people in a number of ways. Not only does the current weather affect helping behavior, but whatever weather people are expecting influences social behaviors (Gueguen & Lamy, 2013). This means that when people know the weather is going to be out, they will be more willing to help. Mainly, it can make someone in a good mood, or even a bad mood. Different moods will affect the way they treat other people around them. The article states that and story weather has related to reducing tak performance (Cunningham, 1979). In this same article it mentions that sunny days can help the environment to be pleasant (Cunningham, 1979). Helping behavior is considered to be a form of social behavior. The article states that social behavior can vary as a function depending on the mood or even the emotional state of mind of the person (Cunningham, 1979). Depending on whether or not the weather affects someone’s emotional state of mind can affect helping behavior (Cunningham, 1979). In conclusion of this article, there has been a good amount of associations between any helping behavior and that of weather variables (Cunningham, 1979).

In this study done, it was found that when there was sunshine, the helping behavior was greater on these days (Cunningham, 1979). Then on cloudy days there was a lower chance of helping behavior shown (Cunningham, 1979). During the summer it was found that the days it was cooler and the wind was higher, and when weather was warmer with less wind speed in the winter, there was a greater chance of helping behavior in both scenarios (Cunningham,1979). Overall, on sunny days people are more willing to help and on cloudy days they are less willing to help someone (Gueguen & Lamy, 2013). When the sun is out, in turn we have people with more positive moods. When we look at all these studies we can see that when there is change in weather, we will have different reactions on whether or not to help someone (Gueguen & Stefan).

Next, we will look at whether, or not gender has an influence in helping behavior. In one study done that found that men’s emotional reactions are not typically related to their decisions on whether, or not to help someone (Fiala Et. al., 1999). This same article states that the Weiner(1980) had a theory that females emotional reactions could not be be explained in full when it came to the differences in their willingness to help someone (Fiala Et al., 1999). Another study that was done found that men were more willing to help after assessing the situation and that the helping behavior is one that they are competent to do (Fiala Et. al., 1999).

In other words, men are more willing to help when the task is more masculine (Fiala, 1999). On the other hand, they found that women are more willing to help when it comes to nurturing situations that people need help with (Fiala Et al., 1999). Men hold the door open because it shows that they are masculine, dominance, and protection of women (Yoder 2002). This article is saying that people decide whether, or not they help depends on if they think they are capable of doing so. Belansky and Boggiano (1994) mentions that gender stereotypes is a major influence on helping behavior, than the people’s self-schemas ( Fiala Et al., 1999). Gender-role stereotypes also play a role in who we help, it influences people to make decisions on whether, or not to help them (Fiala.Et al., 1999).

It was found that women find more satisfaction when they receive help from others than men do (Fiala Et. al., 1999). We can conclude that gender does play a role in whether, or not a helping behavior is being performed. The gender plays a role with both the person who is doing the helping behavior and the person who is receiving the behavior. In a study done, it was found that men held the door open more than females did (Roundy, Griffith, Jensen, & Allen. 2005). There was a study done that showed 55.2% of women had opened the door for a man, whereas only 44.8% of men had opened the door open for women (Yoder Et. al., 2002). This same study found that 33% of the time, when a man had previously held the door open for a women, she returned the favor (Yoder Et. al., 2002). Then on the other hand, 48% reciprocity for men (Yoder,2002). There was a study done to show that depending on how the person holds the door determines if they will give a verbal thanks (Fox,2015). They found that when someone opens the door will a higher effort, the more likely they will say thank you and did not help more often (Fox,2015).


We conducted thirty observations. Fifteen of the observations will be a male experimenter who were holding four boxes. The other fifteen observations were divided between the remaining four group members who were female. We went with this approach because we wanted to see if there was a difference in gender when it comes to helping behavior. Other people that were involved in this experiment were other people on campus who we will be observing. The materials that we used for the experiment were four boxes that one of the participants would be holding while they were struggling to open the door.

Other materials used were paper and pens, so the experimenters could write down notes as they are observing the experiment we were conducting. Lastly, we needed multiple different doors that were on campus. One participant of the group would be holding four boxes and they would try and open the door without putting the boxes down. We wanted to see if people would either ignore the experimenter while they were struggling to open the door, or if they will hold help them out by opening it for them. The other four participants at this time stood at a distance away from the door and watched the experiment happening and kept track of what they had seen happening at that moment. We wanted to see if there was a difference in gender when it came to the helping behavior of door holding the door. As well as the person carrying the boxes.

The independent variable was the person who was carrying the boxes because we can control who is carrying the boxes. We will be switching between female and male box holders to see if there is was a difference in reaction. The dependent variable was the people around campus that may or may not hold the door open for the experimenter. First, we would select who will hold the boxes first. The other four members will be at a distances observing who opens the door and their reactions. We selected different doors around campus to do this experiment. The participant who was holding the boxes would start to show that they were struggling to open the door. At this time, the other experimenters would be observing and keeping track of who opened the door. We looked at gender, weather conditions, and tried determined the mood of the person who was holding the door, as well as people who do not open the door. One thing we looked at during this experiment were the different conditions and behaviors. We also observed facial expressions and body language of the people who held the door. We are interested in looking at the weather and time of day as well.


Theme #1: Socialization

Socialization was one of the major theme in this experiment. This is when people in a society come together and help one another. As a society we need to learn to learn how to behave in a way that we would be accepted into the society. When there was a female box holder, whenever someone was walking by they always got the door opened by someone else. Social conformity is also another major theme in this experiment. We know how we should act towards others to fit in with society. The women never got ignored. Seven of the door holders were males and the other eight were females. There were different results when a male was carrying the boxes. Five of the door holder were males and there were six female door holders. That only makes elevendoor holder. This is because there were four males and one female who had ignored him, three different observations.

Two were just walking past and the other two were sitting off to the side watching him struggle. There was a difference in whether, or not the door holder was coming in and out of the building. There was a total of seven people who were not even leaving the building and still opened the door for him. Five of those were females and two were males. Two males ignored him from the inside as well. There were a total of two people who were leaving the building that held the door for him. These two males then seen him struggling and kept the door open for him to enter the building. Two people opened the door for him from the outside.

During the first observation an older man sitting across the room who worked at the library noticed the experimenter struggling to open the door. It was noticeable that he was debating on whether, or not to go open the door. It looked as if he was waiting on to see if whether, or not he would get it himself, or if someone else will open it. During the second observation the experimenter tried opening a door that was behind the man who watched him in the first observation. The older man seemed annoyed that the experimenter was trying to open the door and questioned him as to why he needed in that room. After the experimenter thanked him for his help he just smiled and did not give a verbal response.

We looked at the responses people had when the box holder said thank you. Out of the fifteen observations for the male box holder seven of them responded to his thank you. Three of them were a verbal response, two were a non-verbal, and then there were two that did both. Out of the two verbal it was one male and one female. For the non-verbal it was two males and no females. When it came to both it was two females and one male. The male also chuckled as well. Then there were three people who did not respond to his thank you. One male and two female are the ones that did not respond. We then observed a total of fifteen observations with a female carrying the boxes. There were a total of six men who opened the door for the female experimenter. Five were female and then there were a total of five men who ignored the female experimenter. Three of the male door holders verbally responded to her thank you, one non-verbal male response, one who did both, and one who did neither. One of the male door holders kind of laughed because it was his second time opening it for her. Out of the five female door holders, two had a verbal response, there were zero non-verbal, two were both, and two were neither.

We also kept track if the door holder was just walking by, or were they coming in or out of the door. Two of the males were leaving from the opposite side of the door. One female was going in the same door. One male and five females were just walking by and stopped just to help. In one observation, one male was on the same side of the door, but just stood there watching her struggle, and other other side of the door a male just watched as well. There was one more observation when a male was just walking passed and ignored the female who was trying to open the door with boxes in her hand. During one of the observations, something really interesting happened. As a female was walking down the hall with the boxes another female with a cart stopped and told her to put the boxes on the cart and she walked her to the doors and opened them both for her. The female with the cart was trying to convince the female experimenter to let her walk her to the dorms for her. This nice women was going to go way out of her way just to help her. Socialization was a theme in this experiment. This is when people in a society come together and help one another. As a society we need to learn to learn how to behave in a way that we would be accepted into the society.

Theme #2: Delay in response

Our second theme was delay in response, which is the bystander effect. According to research done by Tobias Greitemeyer,when there are more than one person around, people are less likely to help someone who is needs it (2015). The bystander effect is when there are multiple people around and when they see someone who needs help, they don’t help because they think other people can help. Bystanders tend to expect someone else to help. There has been research done that suggest that the amount of people in the room plays an impact on whether, or not someone will help (Abbate. Et al., 2014). We had an example of this in our experiment. People who walked passed could of been displaying the bystander effect as well.Many times people will not help someone in public is because they do not want to be judged for helping someone (Abbate. Et. al., 2014).

Theme #3: Social conformity

When it comes to social conformity, we are talking about social norms. Human beings want to feel external rewards, we want approval form people around us (Oarga, C., Stavrova, O., & Fetchenhauer, D, 2015). When we help people, we feel like we fit in with others around us, we feel like others approve of us (Oarga, C., Stavrova, O., & Fetchenhauer, D, 2015). It also makes us feel better about ourselves. We are able to help someone who needs help, especially when everyone else that is around is not willing to help. This makes us look even better when we are the only one who is willing to help a stranger.


As mentioned earlier in the paper, socialization, delay of response, and social conformity are key themes for helping behavior. In a past research article mentions that the social norm for door holding is that men should be holding the door open for a women (McCarty. M. & Kelly. J). After doing our experiment we noticed that women were actually more likely to hold the door open for women. A few men ignored the female box holder and there were no females who ignored a female box holder.

Past research mentions that men would be more likely to hold a door open for a stranger than a women would (McCarty. M & Kelly. J). Our experiment would actually does not support this past research. From our experiment we found that there were more women willing to open a door for a stranger than a man would. Passed research shows that positive moods will facilitate people social relationships and their willingness to help other people (Gueguen & Lamy, 2013). All this suggests that the sun will have an impact on helping behavior and it is probably influenced by mood (Gueguen & Lamy, 2013). We can not always know if the person is in a bad mood because we do not always know them. They may express their emotions a different way. We may think someone looks mad or upset, but they may be happy.

A limitation for this research is that it is not lonitudial. Not everyone smiles when they are happy. Our experiment supported previous research done on the delay of response. The more people in the room, the less likely someone will help because of the bystander effect (Abbate. Et. al., 2014). For example, in the first observation when the older gentlemen was debating on whether or not to get up to help. Another example is when the experimenter was trying to get in the building two men off to the side were just sitting there watching. Many people will help others because of social conformity. People help others because helping behavior is rewarding (Oarga. Et. al., 2015). For our experiment, we noticed the there were a few groups of people and one or two people in those groups were willing to help. One reason they will be willing to help is because if our friends see us helping someone else, they may help us in the future because they see us helping a stranger.

Another reason someone may help another is because it may make themselves feel better because they were able to help someone. If this was a longitudinal research we can track the same people in a certain period of time. Another limitation for this experiment was that it is the summer. Not a lot of students can afford summer classes, or just choose not to. Therefore, there is not that as many people on campus. We also did this experiment during class time because that was the only time our group member could meet. A limitation we had was the distance we were observing from to make sure it wasn’t obvious that we were watching, it was hard to see the person’s facial expression. We had to rely on the person who was carrying the boxes. One major limitation we had was that we did all our observations in one day, we should of did a few different days to get a better insight on the weather affecting helping behavior.

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