Kitty Genovese

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  • Topic: Bystander effect, Kitty Genovese, Diffusion of responsibility
  • Pages : 3 (757 words )
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  • Published : May 14, 2008
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Introduction to the Kitty Genovese Case
At 3:20am on March 13th, 1964, twenty eight year old Catherine Genovese, known to most as Kitty, returned home from her job as a manager at a bar in Hollis (Histories Mysteries, Silent Witnesses). She parked her car in a lot next to the Kew Gardens, in a railroad station. She then began to walk the 100 feet to her apartments front door entrance. Kitty noticed a man at the far end of the lot. She halted and began to walk faster to her apartment on Austin Street. She got as far as a streetlight before the man she had seen grabbed her. Kitty yelled for help, screaming that she had been stabbed. Lights went on in surrounding apartment rooms, and one person yelled at the attacker. The attacker then fled the scene to run to his car, only to come back ten minutes later to search for Kitty. Kitty had made it to the door of the apartments before her attacker returned to finish her off. By this time it was 3:50am, and the police were finally called. It was later found out that at least 38 witnesses watched the attack go on for a half hour without helping Kitty or even calling the police (Gensberg, 38 Witnesses).

Theory of Latane and Darley
Latane and Darley developed the theory of diffusion of responsibility. Their theory says the greater the number of bystanders to an event that calls for helping behavior the more the responsibility for helping is perceived to be shared by all bystanders. (Feldman, 37) Hypothesis

The more people who witness an emergency situation, the less likely it is that help will be given to the victim. (Feldman, 37) Experimental Research
Their first step was to make their hypothesis into something that could be tested. They created a fake emergency situation that would appear to need the aid of bystanders. They got 3 groups, with 2,3, and 6 people. This number of people was the independent variable. They measured how much time the people took and if they helped as the dependant variables. (Feldman,...
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