Bystander Intervention (Bystander Effects)
Definition - Bystander Effect (bystander apathy) The presence
of others decreases the
likelihood that anyone will offer help
If there are a number of people at the scene of an accident,
Would we expect most people to help – Most people would probably answer Yes.
BUT surprisingly the answer is NO – In reality the more
people there are ,the fewer seem to want to help.
This lack of Intervention is known as Bystander Apathy
Factors Preventing Bystander Intervention
Diffusion of Responsibility
See Kitty Genovese class handout
Latane and Darley(1968) when investigating the Kitty Genovese
murder, showed that not one of the 38 people who observed her murder attempted
to call the police at the time because they thought someone else will do
Presence of other people
Latane and Rodin investigated this in a study where a person
waited in a room, but in the room next door a secretary pretended to fall
and cried out. People waiting alone or with a friend tended to go to her
assistance while people waiting with a stranger in the room didn’t.
Defining the Situation
In another experiment Latane and Darley arranged for smoke to
billow into a room from under a door. 75% waiting alone reported it, while only
10% of those waiting with strangers did.
Piliavin et al (1969)
Research Question – If people are partly responsible for
their own problem – should they receive less help from those around them.
See Piliavin Class handout
Piliavin found that people would help someone who appeared to
be ill 95% of the time, and only 50% of the time even if the person appeared to
It could well be possible that the greatest problem with
intervention is the fear of ‘Looking Silly’ to other people
Latane and Darley suggested that if people defined the situation for themselves (possibly as
an emergency) they would act. However otherwise they would go along with the
group attitude towards the situation and follow the crowd in their decision.