Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society

, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp 459–461 | Cite as

Hitchhiking: Social signals at a distance

  • Charles J. Morgan
  • Joan S. Lockard
  • Carol E. Fahrenbruch
  • Jerry L. Smith
Article

Abstract

Hitchhiking is used as a model for the experimental investigation of long range communication. Two studies were conducted to ascertain the importance of sex, eye contact, food, secondary sex characteristics, and hand gestures in hitching a ride. Eye contact was directed either at the driver or along the side of the road. The hitchhiker was either eating or not eating fruit. The secondary sex characteristics were bust size in females and beard growth in males. Either a traditional thumb-up or a palm-up, flexed-fingers begging gesture was utilized. The recorded data include the number of cars passing the hitchhiker, the number of motorists offering rides, their passengers, and the types of vehicles they were driving. The findings suggest that the effective signals in hitching a ride are those that maximize interest and safety and minimize danger. The hitchhiking model was discussed in terms of hominid sociability and the dependence of individual survival upon group cohesion and cooperation.

Reference Note

  1. Lockard, J. S., McDonald, L. L., Clifford, D. A., and Martinez, R. Panhandling: Sharing of resources. (Manuscript in preparation.)Google Scholar

References

  1. Carlson, D. Thumbs out: Ethnography of hitchhiking. In J. P. Spradley and D. W. McCurdy (Eds.) The cultural experience. Chicago: Science Research Association, 1972, Pp. 137–146.Google Scholar
  2. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, I. Similarities and differences between cultures in expressive movements. In S. Weitz (Ed.) Nonverbal communication. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974, Pp. 20–33.Google Scholar
  3. Ekman, P. Universal and cultural differences in facial expressions of emotion. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press: Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 1971, Pp. 207–283.Google Scholar
  4. Ellsworth, P., Carlsmith, J. M., & Hanson, A. The stare as a stimulus to flight in human subjects: A series of field experiments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1972, 21, 302–311.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fisher, R. A., & Yates, S. F. Statistical tables for biological, agricultural, and medical research. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1957.Google Scholar
  6. Pomazal, R. J., & Clore, G. L. Helping on the highway: The effects of dependency and sex. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 1973, 3, 150–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The psychonomic soceity, inc 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles J. Morgan
    • 1
  • Joan S. Lockard
    • 1
  • Carol E. Fahrenbruch
    • 1
  • Jerry L. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology or Department of Neurological SurgeryUniversity of WashingtonSeattle

Personalised recommendations