Bystander Effect - What is the Bystander Effect
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. In a series of classic studies, researchers Bibb Latane and John Darley (1) 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: alone in a room, with two other participants or with two confederates who pretended to be normal participants. As the participants sat filling out questionnaires, smoke began to fill the room. Example of the Bystander Effect The most frequently cited example of the bystander effect in introductory psychology textbooks is the brutal murder of a young woman named Catherine "Kitty" Genovese.