Expertly Selected by Dr. John F Murray
We Help People Who are Like Us
The psychology of affiliation is fascinating. People like those who are just like us. It’s not simply this. We have a tendency to really help those who are similar to us. In one study, for example, people were very nice and accommodating, giving change to those dressed equally to the person requesting change. If approached by somebody who was wearing different clothing, people were less likely to give the money.
Experimenters added one extra layer to the situation with a person in need wearing a Manchester United shirt, and sometimes wearing the shirt of a rival soccer club, Liverpool, and sometimes wearing a plain, unbranded shirt. Everyone just completed surveys talking about what big Manchester United fans they were, so when they saw a fellow Manchester United fan in need, 92% did something to help him. Only around 30% do anything to help when it’s a Liverpool fan or when it’s someone in an unbranded shirt! As unfortunate as it is that something as simple as a t-shirt can so dramatically influence helping behavior, it makes some sense. We’ll help someone with whom we share a common bond.