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The Kindness Of Strangers Research Paper

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In the article “The Kindness Of Strangers”, the author, Levine (2006/2007) writes of the helpfulness of strangers. He does extensive research and also performs experiments. He found that in some places of the world people were more likely to help people they do not know than in other places. He explains that environment, socialization, and economics affects how willing people are to help.

Levine (2006/2007) uses economics the most through his article. He does this, because experiments showed that people who are poor are more than likely going to help someone in need. The reason for poorer communities being more helpful is because, to them social interactions are more important then their own achievements. Usually they aren’t very economically productive, yet they are more likely to help strangers (Levine 2006/2007).

Socialization was another very strong theme in this article, Levine (2006/2007) mentions that in Rio, the number one most helpful city, they live by a word - simpatico. Simpatico to the Brazilians is basically a way of life to them, “to be friendly, nice, agreeable, and good natured” (Levine 2006/2007, pp. 13). Also, with the poorer communities they do most trading within themselves, making them more trusting and friendly.

Environment also plays a major role in this article, the likeliness of getting help from a smaller population is very high. As with less people the amount of crime is lower, hence there is more trust. Trust is the bottom line for anyone to go out of their way to help someone, that is probably the reason New York is so low on the list, it has a huge population and a very high crime rate. Most people would rather shelter themselves from people, and the chance of getting robbed or worse, then take a chance on helping someone they do not know. The way most are brought up in large cities is survival, they are brought up to read people well and understand their surroundings. If they see someone who is faking blindness like the test givers, of course they would be weary of giving help, they could feel that they were being set up.

One theory Levine (2006/2007) had was that not all cities were the same, like

people they have different personalities to them. He believed that some people in certain cities with specific qualities, would be the ones helping strangers in need. The reasoning behind this idea he had came from an experience as a child in New York, where hundreds of people walked over a man, that in his opinion needed help. Then years later in Rangoon he saw dozens of people abandoning there stalls to help someone. He went on to test his theory with experiments around the world. His experiments lead him to realize that cities were extremely diverse, mostly in the way people helped and their reason for helping or not helping.

Another theory Levine (2006/2007) used, was the fact that living in a nicer environment, even a simpler environment might raise the helpfulness of people. Stating that people in places like New York are just afraid to offer help after they have been burned too many times Levine (2006/2007). Most all of us know and are aware of “stranger



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