Bystander Effect

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The bystander effect is a social psychological occurrence that refers to scenarios where individuals do not provide help during emergency cases to the victim in the presence of other people. Conventionally, there is an inverse relationship between the number of bystanders and the probability of help. Meaning that the likelihood of receiving help reduces with an increase in the number of bystanders. The sheer presence of bystanders serves to reduce the chances of intervention. This is because an increase in bystanders reduces the likelihood of a bystander interpreting the emergency as a problem, that reduces the probability of a bystander assuming responsibility for initiating action to help. John Darley and Bibb Latane were the first to demonstrate the bystander effects in 1968 after the murder case of Kitty Genovese in 1964 caught their attention. Darley and Latane conducted numerous …show more content…
All students were put in a room—either alone, with two strangers or with three strangers to complete a questionnaire while waiting for the experimenter to return. While they were completing the questionnaire smoke was pumped into the room through a wall vent to simulate an emergency. When students were working alone they noticed the smoke almost immediately. However, students that were working in groups took longer to notice the smoke. Latané and Darley claimed this phenomenon could be explained by the social norm of what is considered polite etiquette in public. In most western cultures, politeness dictates that it is inappropriate to look around. This may seem that a person is nosy or rude. As a result, passers-by are more likely to be keeping their attention to themselves when around large groups than when alone. People who are alone are more likely to be conscious of their surroundings and therefore more likely to notice a person in need of

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