TORONTO – A new social experiment shows how pedestrians might react if a stranger collapsed on the sidewalk and whether appearance would play a role in a person’s willingness to help.
In the online video, YouTube user NorniTUBE dresses up like a homeless man and is seen coughing before he collapses on a busy street in Paris. He calls out for help several times. It appears that no one comes to his aid.
Halfway through the clip, a caption asks “What if it was you?”
NorniTUBE repeats the experiment, but this time dresses up in a business suit. Watch the video above to see what happens next.
In 2013, a similar viral social experiment was conducted in Italy. Diego Dolciami and Matteo Moroni decided to film two scenarios. In the first, a well-dressed “business man” in a suit walked with a cane and fell down. In the second scenario, a homeless man in ragged clothing carrying possessions also would stumble and fall.
Dolciami and Moroni said that in 10 out of 10 cases, the business man was helped by strangers, while in only two out of 10 instances the homeless man was helped.
And just last month, another social experiment also hoped to make people think twice before they walked past homeless people.
The ‘Make them Visible’ campaign had actors made up to appear as though they had been living on the streets. A hidden camera was set up to capture if unsuspecting relatives who walked by would recognize their loved ones.
The campaign says that not a single participant was recognized by their spouse, sibling, cousin or other relative.