November 19th, 2007


human nature is exonerated

Those of you who took Social Psych: Remember Kitty Genovese? The woman who was stabbed to death in plain sight of 38 witnesses, none of who lifted a finger to help her? The event that would cost generations of poets, theologians, and social psychologists their faith in humanity?

Well, consider humanity acquitted. A group of British psychology professors and an Associated Press reporter returned to the story forty years later, and discovered it was full of shit. This seriously changes my opinion of human behavior in general--maybe it's time to lay aside the cynicism.

More details here (though unfortunately only the abstract is free unless you're an APA member--any of you current Obies have any luck fetching this from JSTOR/OhioLink?). From Wikipedia I gather that most of the article involves fact-checking on common intro-to-social-psych textbooks, though Wikipedia is reliable only to fools and propagandists.