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Free Hugs Psychology Experiment


Submitted By brazilianradio
Words 868
Pages 4
Free Hugs
Lauren English
Kerri Churches
Psych 170-D200
11 October, 2015

For my research study, I decided to conduct an experiment to see how many people would be freely willing to give me a hug when holding up a sign saying “Free Hugs”. How many people would be willing to give a complete stranger a hug? Would there be more women that would give someone a hug, rather than men? If I stood outside the RVC campus, held up my sign, and asked if they would like a hug, then I believe more women would feel comfortable to give me a hug rather than men. I decided to stand outside the Rock Valley College campus to perform my experiment because I was very curious to see how college students would react. Also, there are many different personalities that are being dealt with because the campus is so large and there are many people. Though many college students range around early twenties, there are also many older adults that are on campus that have the ages between forty and fifty. While conducting my experiment, many people were shy to approach me. A lot of people that passed by either giggled and walked pass, or refused to make eye contact. I was really afraid that I was going to walk out of this experiment with one to none hugs. About fifteen minutes goes past, and finally, a group of boys notice my sign and each of them gave me a hug. They seemed very happy and pleased when they saw my sign. When people saw what the group of boys did, more people began to join in and gave me hugs. I had a lot of smiles and “have a good day” come from people that I have never seen before. Even though this was just for a social experiment, I felt as if I was performing a good deed. The more hugs I got, the more I noticed the time difference between each one; some hugs grew longer than other ones. I decided to perform an experiment because I was more intrigued to have encounters with random people, rather focus on one group of people. I watched many other videos on YouTube and a lot of them dealt with the difference between what gender was holding the sign, rather than which gender was more willing to give a hug. The results to the experiments were that more hugs were given when the woman was holding the sign, rather than the male. The woman got over twenty hugs, when the male only got about five. When certain by standers were asked as to why they were more willing to give a woman a hug rather than a man, many people had the same response: the woman was more approachable. Many people thought it was a cute idea that the woman was giving free hugs away to people, but when the man held the sign, more people thought it was creepy. In another experiment, done with the same concept, a group of high school girls dressed up in outfits that fit the stereotypes of a prep, emo, and nerdy kid. When asked as to why they chose to dress the way they did, they stated that they wanted to see if people would feel more comfortable with a certain stereotype. They stood inside a local mall and took turns holding the sign. When the girl that was dressed as the prep held the sign, many people were more than willing to give her a hug; same went for the girl that dressed nerdy. Although, when the girl that dressed as the emo girl held the sign, she received very little hugs. They asked certain recipients which girl they would feel more comfortable giving a hug to, and majority of them said they would hug the girl dressed as the prep because she looked the most approachable by how she was dressed. They also began to ask why they would not hug the girl dressed as an emo girl and they stated that were intimidated by how she dressed and by her appearance. The data that I collected proves that more males were willing to give me a hug than females were. I was very shocked to see that more men were willing to give me a hug rather than women. I thought that this study was very interesting because it was very intriguing to see people break out of their comfort zone to receive a hug from someone that they did not know. I think there are many factors that could be manipulated and changed, such as the gender of who was holding the sign, how you were dressed, the community that you surround yourself in, and so on. I prevented personal bias by going to a community of people that I knew I did not know very well. The many people that I hugged were people that I have never seen before. I believe this experiment was very interesting to perform because even though it was just a social experiment for class, I still felt like I was making someone’s day a little brighter than it was before.

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