The Bystanders Effect

The Bystanders Effect is the finding that the more bystanders who observe an emergency, the less likely any one is to help. A step-by-step description of how people decide whether to help in an emergency has been developed. First, we must notice the event. Being in a hurry or any kind of distraction can decrease chances we will help. Next we must interpet the event as an actual emergency. When there are other bystanders present, we will often look to them for cues about how serious the situation is. Pluralistic ignorance is when bystanders assume nothing is wrong in an emergency because no one else looks concerned.

Once we determine that a situation is an emergency, the next step is to assume responsibility to do something about it. This also becomes less likely the more bystanders are present. Diffusion of responsibility is the finding that each bystander’s sense of responsibility to help decreases as the number of witnesses increases. This is because we assume that if a lot of people are witnessing the incident that someone else will do something about it.

Even if we assume responsibility, we need to know how to help. If we don’t know what form of assistance to give, we will not be able to help effectively. Finally, if we know how to help, we still have to implement our decision. There are several reasons why we might decide not to intervene, even if we know exactly what to do. First, we might not be qualified to deliver the right kind of help. Secondly, we might be afraid of making a fool of ourselves, doing the wrong thing, or placing ourselves in danger.

Increasing Prosocial behavior

There are a few ways to increase a person’s prosocial behavior. First, educating people about the bystander effect makes people aware of the barriers to helping in an emergency and can then increase people’s chances of overcoming those barriers. Once people know about the bystander effect, they realize that if they don’t act, perhaps no one will. Positive psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on people’s strengths and virtues, rather than on weaknesses or disorders. Research in this area has helped us gain an understanding of when people help, which can then be applied in a real-world setting.

Review of each article should include( a review for all three articles independently):

-Introduce the article, including the purpose of the article and any revelant hypotheses.

-Summarize methods (i.e. type of participants, procedures used to manipulate or measure variables).

-Summarize study results.

-Explain how study and results demonstrate or support the social psychology topic Bystander Effect (you must be able to demonstrate that you can relate the specific study results to the Bystander Effect).

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