Social Experiment Report

Our experiment was based on the sociological views of Talcott Parsons. Talcott Parsons believed that people reacted according to their values and the values of the people around them which created stability in society. He also believed people only cooperated together to achieve goals based on their shared values. We decided to challenge that concept by following through with a social experiment that required people to decide between either giving a helping hand or doing nothing at all. This is the Dropping a Wallet in Public Experiment.

We conducted a survey with 50 different individuals all selected at random to help us observe a more accurate consensus on whether people agreed and cooperated only if they had something alike. 37 individuals proved Parsons Theory to be correct because the answers on these 37 resembled one another’s generally. The rest, 13 other individuals, had random answers which didn’t correspond with a specific pattern.
We can use the following question that we asked as an example to further investigate this theory:
“Rate the following from 1 being the first to 5 being the last. Who are you more inclined to assist first if they are ever in need?”
a) Teacher
b) Parents
c) Siblings
d) Classmates
e) Friends
This specific question can deliver a lot of insight on Parsons Theory. The reason we worded the question so broad was because we didn’t want people to understand what was being asked because then they might be inclined to change the answer to our liking. We hypothesized that people would choose answers based on their personal values and preferences and we were correct. Majority, specifically 43 people chose parents as their number 1 choice because they believed that if their parents were in this position, they would choose them. The other 7 individuals surprisingly chose siblings and friends as their number 1 choices. This we believed was due to a weak connection between the participants and their parents or because the connection with their siblings/friends was stronger. The participants believed that the values were similar with the options that were given.
We also conducted a social experiment to further assess the theory. We had someone drop a wallet in front of a passerby and someone else attempt to steal that wallet. Some individuals reacted by doing absolutely nothing while others ran after the offender and demanded that he give back the stolen wallet. This we believe is due to the shared values that they think they have with the “innocent person being robbed”. Maybe the ones who helped out had been through a robbery before and knew how badly it affected them, so they didn’t want someone else to deal with that? Whatever the case may have been, the good Samaritans outweighed the bad folk who didn’t believe in helping out.

Result (Video Analysis)
To conclude, we discovered that Talcott Parsons theory on sociological behavior was accurate in the scenario that we dealt with. We discovered that individuals assisted each other when they felt that their views resembled one another’s. We also learned that even within a basket full of good apples a few bad apples can still be present. At the end of the day we left our location and realized that out of the 62 different reactions we had with random strangers, 90% of those reactions were people helping a helpless person in need. I guess you can say that faith in humanity has been restored.