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The unlikely Samaritans


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Michael William Babula, Senior Lecturer, Quantitative Methods, University of Greenwich, Queen Anne Building Room 301a, 30 Park Row, Greenwich Maritime Campus, London SE10 9LS, UK. E-mail:


The helping motivations of wealth-driven college students were investigated. Tang et al. argues that wealth-driven individuals are extrinsically motivated, and that extrinsic motivation negatively relates to helping behavior. The results of questionnaires and experimentation here contradict the recent literature. Seventy-two percent of subjects reported wealth as a top priority in life. Fifty-six percent of subjects would take an insider trading tip, and 78% of subjects offered help to a confederate who just learned his family member was in an accident and needed to make a telephone call. Logistic regression results showed intrinsic motivation among participants significantly predicted increased helping behavior. It is recommended that surveys used to create new paradigms be followed up with experimentation whenever feasible.