The Bystander Effect

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Bibb Latané and John Darley, two psychologists, studied the bystander effect during their experimentation after the murder of Kitty Genovese. The Bystander Effect refers to the effect that bystanders have during the intervention of an emergency. Latané and Darley used a series of experiments to look at different aspects of the bystander effect; The series of experiments included smoke, a lady in distress, hand in the till, stolen beer, “children don’t fight like that,” and fit to be tried (Latané & Darley, 1970). Latané and Darley asked, “What is the underlying force in mankind toward altruism?” and “what determines in a particular situation whether one person will help another?” Their hypothesis was that “the number of other people present…show more content…
In general terms, the bystander effect has been highly associated with Genovese’s murder. However, Manning, Levine, and Collins (2007) found Thus, the three key features of the Kitty Genovese story that appear in social psychology textbooks (that there were 38 witnesses, that the witnesses watched from their windows for the duration of the attack, and that the witnesses did not intervene) are not supported by the available evidence (Manning, Levine, & Collins, 2007, p.559).
Many other researchers had similar arguments to the bystander effect. The bystander effect was a controversial topic. One critic was Francis Cherry who said that Latané and Darley did not look at important features, such as gender relations and violence (Manning et. al, 2007, p.559). Latané and Darley weren’t the only social psychologists of the time. Zimbardo, Allport, and Millgram explored other social aspects of the bystander tradition (Manning et. al, 2007, p.560). Related theories include Zimbardo’s prison, Milgram’s obedience study, and fundamental attribution error (Jarrett, 2012). The researchers did not merely criticize the bystander effect. They added on to Latané and Darley’s work, creating new theories to explain social situations involving bystanders. If it weren’t for Latané and Darley’s research, social psychology involving bystanders would not be as
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The experiment by Latané and Darley only focused on certain factors. The research done by other psychologists has stemmed from Latané and Darley’s basic experimentation involving emergencies. Newer research has shown similar and different results. The results are generally similar but vary due to the manipulating of variables, including setting, sample, emergency, victims, the gender of bystanders, etc. A quote by Latané and Darley mentions, “Although we would like to make the trite claim that we have raised more questions than we have answered, there are a number of obvious directions in which we feel further research could profitably be taken (Latané & Darley, 1970,
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