PSY-100 Section 003
Assignment #1: The Bystander Effect
The Bystander Effect is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to situations in which individuals do not extend any means of help to a victim when others are present. One clear cause that underlies the basis of this occurrence is the number of people or, bystanders, involved. While this argument forms the basis of the effect, I also believe that ambiguity, or in this case, the diffusion of responsibility amongst those present, plays a deeper role in the passivity of the bystanders. I believe that as the number of bystanders increases, they will each experience a diminished responsibility towards aiding the person in need and as a result, ignore or pay minimal attention to the victim.
In order to test this hypothesis, an experiment must be designed to manipulate the number of people in the area when an apparent victim demonstrates his or her need for assistance. The independent variable, that which is manipulated by the experimenter, is represented by the number of bystanders present in each case. On the other hand, the dependant variable will be operationally defined as the number of individuals that actively seek to help the victim through verbal inquiry (“Do you need help?”) and/or physical assistance.
In this experiment, the technique of deception must be used to adequately control all confounds and retain the validity of the obtained results. The two control groups will consist of ten individuals each (five males and five females that are representative of the general population and randomly assigned to one of the two control groups) and will differ only in the sex of the victim. The experimental groups will consist of two, four, six, eight, twelve, fourteen, sixteen, eighteen, and twenty individuals, equally divided by sex. This experimental process seeks to eliminate the confound of gender as affecting the true area of study, both in terms of the bystanders and the...
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