Behavior: The Subway Samaritan

The Subway Samaritan A man slumps in a doorway and lies there unattended as pedestrians scurry past. A child is beaten unconscious while residents in adjoining apartments turn a deaf ear to his shrieks. Six years ago, Kitty Genovese, 28, was stabbed to death in New York City while 38 of her neighbors, roused by her screams, watched or listened and did nothing. Such incidents feed the popular notion, especially in big cities, that the average citizen is not prepared to go to the aid of his fellow man.

Now this pessimistic view has been challenged in...