Academic Year 12

A Level students produce news report on ‘Good Samaritans’.

Our Year 12s studying A Level Psychology have already made great progress with the psychological studies they have to understand over the two-year course.

During this time, they work through 20 named studies, both traditional and modern. For each of them, they need to know the context and how they were carried out and they also have to be in a position to evaluate the studies and their ethics and usefulness to everyday life.

So far, the girls have looked at studies revolving around how obedient and conformist we are. They are now moving on to ‘helping behaviours’ across different cultures.

Most recently, they looked at a case that shocked America – the murder of a woman in a middle class area of New York. Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death outside her apartment building while, it was claimed, more than 30 witnesses saw or heard the attack and failed to help.

On the back of this, they read and analysed Piliavin’s study on ‘Good Samaritans’, the aim of which was to investigate how quickly and frequently people helped others in an emergency situation.

Mr Smith gave the students the job of producing a television programme about the murder case and Piliavin’s subsequent study. The assignment had to be in the form of an in-depth news report which could include interviews with bystanders, neighbours and experts. Part of it could be presented by a reporter at the scene of the murder and some of it back in the TV studio. It had to be 15 to 20 minutes long.

Students had to include an interview with one of Piliavin’s team about his experiment. How did Piliavin conduct the experiment on the New York underground and why, and what did he find out? The girls also had to conclude with an in-studio debate to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the study.


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