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Publication Date

2-2003

Abstract

This chapter focuses on some of the special challenges and difficulties in conducting cross-cultural research. In particular, it describes some of the problems my colleagues and I have faced in our own research: a series of studies in which helpfulness toward strangers was assessed in 36 cities across the United States and 23 large cities around the world. We conducted independent field experiments in each city to measure helping in various situations, such as seeing if passersby would alert a pedestrian who dropped a pen, offer help to a pedestrian with a hurt leg trying to reach a pile of dropped magazines, assist a blind person to cross the street and retrieve a lost letter. The results of these studies are discussed, including some ways they exemplify both what can be learned from cross-cultural research and the "noise" or uncertainties one can expect to encounter in this learning process.

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