I asked 122 university students to look at photographs of two people walking down a corridor. Unbeknownst to the students, half of them viewed photos in which the two people were holding hands, and the other half viewed photos in which the people were not holding hands. (See the photos below.) The students then completed a questionnaire in which they indicated their intention to ask other people to help them with an upcoming university coursework assignment.
The results showed that the students in the hand-holding condition had significantly stronger intentions to seek help than the students in the no hand-holding condition. Hence, subtle cues of social affiliation (i.e., people holding hands) can increase people’s intentions to seek help.
This research builds on previous work that shows that affiliation cues can promote help-giving in children (Over & Carpenter, 2009), and it has implications for facilitating help-seeking in the areas of education, health, and, of course, lost drivers!
For further information, please see the following journal article:
A self-archived version of this journal article is available here.