SYDNEY, April 20 (Xinhua) -- A new study led by the University of Sydney has found that people from diverse cultural backgrounds share a common tendency to help others at the scale of real-time daily interaction.
Published in the Nature Scientific Reports journal on Wednesday, the study probed into prosocial behaviors among familiars, both kin and non-kin, in eight cultures on five continents.
Video recordings, which featured more than 350 individuals from Australia, Ghana, Ecuador, Laos, Italy, Britain, Poland and Russia, were analyzed by a global research team, with a focus on those small, pervasive low-cost requests, such as passing items, helping to make food, or moving heavy objects.
According to the study, someone will signal a need for assistance once every 2.3 minutes on average. When immediate help is sought, people comply seven times more often than they decline and six times more often than they ignore.
"Our reliance on each other for help is constant," said Nick Enfield, professor at the University of Sydney who led the study with Giovanni Rossi, assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
"On the rare occasions when people do decline, they explain why," said Enfield. "This human tendency to help others when needed and to explain when such help can't be given transcends other cultural differences."
The current study only paid attention to close and enduring social relationships in the home or village life.
But the researchers hoped that it can provide a basis for future research to extend the analysis to small-scale cooperation in other kinds of contexts, including interactions among strangers and in formal settings, such as workplaces and businesses. ■