In this study, John M. Darley and Bibb Latane strive to discover the reasoning behind the bystander effect. Throughout the article they use a random sample of people and by manipulating the number of people present through each experiment, they see how people respond to crisis in larger numbers versus smaller numbers. They concluded that in order for a bystander to act in an emergency the bystander first must “notice that something is happening, interpret that the event is an emergency, and decide that they have person responsibility to help.” They tested their theories through a series of experiments. They first studied these factors by manipulating the number of participants in a “smoke-filled-room” study. Participants were told to fill out information packets in a room and the scientists sent smoke through the wall. In this study, researchers found that in most cases, the people were more likely to panic about the smoke when they were in smaller numbers as opposed to with a larger group of people. The reason is because if other people are present in the room and the others are not panicking, the individual becomes less likely to panic. The second test was participants were placed in a room to play a video game and they hear a girl in the following room fall off a chair and hurt herself. This experiment also concluded that when the participants were alone they were more likely to assist the lady in the room next door. When participants were in a room together they chose to not assist the woman because their was a shared responsibility between the two people instead of just on the individual. Overall, they concluded that the two major causes for the bystander effect is responsibility diffusion as well as the difficulty in determining the situation as an emergency.
Overall, I think that the study does a pretty valid job at describing and testing the bystander effect. I think that the one way that this experiment could be improved is through more and more...
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