Researchers Set Up 'Candid Camera' To Test People's Empathy and Altruism

When you see a stranger in some kind of hardship, how do you react? Researchers carried out a rare study in a real-life setting to assess the relationship between empathy and altruism. 

People remain at the beach near two corpses after the collapse of a bicycle track in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo: CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

When you see a stranger in some kind of hardship, how do you react? What goes through your mind when you consider whether to help this person? Researchers, led by psychologist Richard Bethlehem of the University of Cambridge, carried out a rare study in a real-life setting, and found that your level of empathy is related to your altruism and whether you'd get involved in a stranger's problem.

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