Faculty Mentor

Debra Spear


The study investigated the effects of perceived disability on the helping behavior of strangers. The investigators, one male and one female, appeared as either disabled or non-disabled, while unknowingly dropping their keys in front of a stranger. The investigators demonstrated three levels of need: no need/ no disability, in which the investigator did not appear in need or disabled; in need/ no disability, in which the investigator carried bags of groceries to appear "in need"; and disabled, in which the investigator used crutches and wore a leg cast. Eighteen randomly selected male and female participants were chosen based on convenience. The independent variable is the actual helping behavior, or whether or not the participant helps. The dependent variable is the perceived level of need. The results were not statistically significant; however, they showed the perceived disabled individual receiving more help than the non-disabled individual.



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