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How would you have reacted?. What is the Bystander Effect?. The term bystander effect refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • How would you have reacted?

    ReactionReasons Why?Call the Police - Right thing to do - Call to be safe - absolutely necessary - Care about peoples safetyDo same for meNot risking lifeProbably never would have noticed -Mind own businessGo down and help - Absolutely necessary- Do same for me

    Shut blinds so perp. Wouldnt see me (if gun)Hide and call police - Couldnt come after meDone nothing - Dont know what going on - FearMind own businessNot risking lifeScared wouldnt know what to do - dangerous situation?Call down if she is ok - dangerous situation?

    Tell someone (not cops first)- Need reassurance

  • What is the Bystander Effect?The term bystander effect refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. When an emergency situation occurs, observers are more likely to take action if there are few or no other witnesses.

    Ex: Philly Subway CarTEN other passengers on the subway took no action during the attack except to get out of harms way. The attacker had has six year old son with him during the attack and made sure that his son was safely seated before turning to attack the surprised victim

  • A Model of Bystander Intervention Notices Interpret incident Assume Attempt to incident as emergency responsibility help Based off of Research Studies...Factors that Influence Helping

  • Noticing

    The first step required for a bystander to intervene is that they notice the situation at all.Ex: Smoke Room StudyPredict what % of the subjects would respond to the smoke(ex: 90%, 40%, 3%)

  • - STUDY #1In a series of classic studies, researchers Bibb Latane and John Darley found that the amount of time it takes the participant to take action and seek help varies depending on how many other observers are in the room. In one experiment, subjects were placed in one of three treatment conditions:

    As the participants sat filling out questionnaires, smoke began to fill the room...QUESTION - ON WHICH SITUATION WERE THEY MORE/LEAST LIKELY TO CHECK OUT WHETHER SMOKE POSED A THREAT?

  • Other studies have shown that togetherness reduces fear even when the danger isn't reduced. It may have been that people in groups were less afraid and thus less likely to act. Or people were inhibited to show fear in a group situation. Alone in a room 75% calmly noticed the smoke and left the room to report it to experimentersWith two other subjects 38% noticed smoke in a room and reported the smoke to experimentersWith two confederates who pretended to be normal participants 10% noticed the smoke in room and reported the smoke to experimenters

  • Noticing

    The first step required for a bystander to intervene is that they notice the situation at all.Ex: Smoke Room Study

    Conclusion: In large groups, passers-by are more likely to be keeping their attention to themselves, than when alone, where people are more likely to be conscious of their surroundings and therefore more likely to notice a person in need of assistance.

  • Situational ambiguity. In ambiguous situations, (i.e., it is unclear that there is an emergency) people are much less likely to offer assistance than in situations involving a clear-cut emergencyex: People's reactions to a man and woman fighting in the street. When the woman yelled, "Get away from me; I don't know you," bystanders intervened 65 percent of the time, but only 19 percent of the time when the woman yelled "Get away from me; I don't know why I ever married you".They are also less likely to help in unfamiliar environments than in familiar ones (strange cities vs their hometowns).

  • Severity of the victim'sneed and Environment or surroundings

    In situations with low potential danger, more help was given in the solitary condition than in the bystander condition. (low danger, alone more likely to help)However, in situations with high potential danger, participants confronted with an emergency alone or in the presence of another bystander were similarly likely to help the victim. Conclusion: In situations of greater seriousness it is more likely that people will interpret the situation as one in which help is needed so that they will be more likely to intervene.

  • Perceived cost. The likelihood of helping increases as the perceived cost to ourselves declinesCalled Social-Exchange entails a person evaluating a sort of relationship that binds the benefit and cost of helping the person BEFORE they act in the situation.The helper desires to achieve optimal benefit at a low cost. ex: Lend our class notes to someone whom we believe will return them vs to a person who doesn't appear trustworthy.

  • Diffusion of responsibility. The presence of others may diffuse the sense of individual responsibility.ex:More people - less likely to receive helpLess people - more likely you will receive helpWith fewer people present, it becomes more difficult to point to the "other guy" as the one responsible for taking action.If everyone believes the other guy will act,then no one acts.

    Read about the studies,,,

  • Similarity. People are more willing to help others whom they perceive to be similar to themselvespeople who share a common background and beliefs.

    They are even more likely to help others who dress like they do than those in different attire (Cialdini & Trost, 1998).

    Peter dressed in a suit compared to dressed as regular person/bum

  • Mood. People are generally more willing to help others when they are in a good mood (feel the genuine desire to help someone else in need) (Berkowitz, 1987).

  • Relieve sense of guiltPeople who want to feel better about themselves by relieving a sense of guilt they may have in order to have a more pure notion of themselves.Ex: I should have helped the time before, but now I can redeem myself

    I should help or I will have that nagging feeling all day

  • Gender. Despite changes in traditional gender roles, women in need are more likely than men in need to receive assistance from strangers(Benson, Karabenick, & Lerner, 1976).

  • Attributions of the cause of needEx: Subway Study

  • STUDY #2

    Two male, two female experimenters (who took notes) boarded a subway train separately.

    Two men stood - as train began to move, one of the men lurched forward and collapsed (lay on floor, face up, staring at the ceiling until someone came to his aid)IF NO ONE HELPED - the other male experimenter would eventually help the "victim" to his feet

    Several Experiments - victim carried black cane and looked ill AND victim smelled like alcohol and carried bottle of liquor in brown paper bagQUESTION - IN WHICH CONDITION WERE THEY MORE LIKELY TO HELP?


    The victim with the cane received help 95% of the time and usually within 5 seconds

    The "drunk" received help 50% of the time after an average of 1 1/2 minutesExplanation as to why?Drunk was responsible for his own plight Helping drunk may involve greater cost (e.g. turn aggressive)

  • Attributions of the cause of needEx: Subway Study People are much more likely to help others they judge to be innocent victims than those they believe have brought their problems on themselves (Batson, 1998). Thus, they may fail to lend assistance to homeless people and drug addicts whom they feel "deserve what they get.

  • Social norms (def: Prescribe behaviors that are expected of people in social situations)The social norm of "doing your part" in helping a worthy cause places a demand on people to help, especially in situations where their behavior is observed by others (Gaulin & McBurney, 2001). Reciprocity norm As social norms idealize how we ought to be behave, this norm suggests how we act in service to someone else because they had previously done it for us.

  • Social norms (def: Prescribe behaviors that are expected of people in social situations)Social-responsibility norm. This agent is different from the reciprocity norm in that we are aware of no trading services for one another.

    This norm best illustrates altruism (unselfish helping) because it suggests that will we be inspired to help someone in need and never ask for or expect anything in return.

  • Notable (and Tragic) Examples

  • Kitty GenoveseNew York City woman who was stabbed to death near her home on March 13, 1964Coming home from her job working as a bar manager early in the morningAs she walked towards the building she was approached by Winston MoseleyAttacked her 3 separate timesWitnesses did nothing until AFTER the ambulance leftInvestigation lead to defining the Bystander Effect

  • Death of Axel CasianOn June 16, 2008, on a country road outside Turlock, California, friends, family and strangers, including a volunteer fire chief, stood by as Sergio Aguiar methodically stomped his two-year-old son Axel Casian to death, explaining in a calm voice that he "had to get the demons out" of the boy. He stopped at one point to turn on the hazard lights on his truck. Notable (and Tragic) Examples

  • Axel Casian contNo one moved to take the child or attack Aguiar. Witnesses said they were all afraid to intervene because Aguiar "might have something in his pocket", although some people looked for rocks or boards hoping to find something to subdue him. The fire chief's fiance called 911.Police officer Jerry Ramar arrived by helicopter and told Aguiar to stop. Aguiar gave Ramar the finger and Ramar shot him in the head.

    Notable (and Tragic) Examples

  • Axel Casian contPolice offic


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