Bibb Latané on Helping Behavior - Dictionary of Arguments
Haslam I 202
Helping Behavior/bystander effect/Darley/Latané: After a murder in New York in March 1964 that 38 witnesses had observed from their homes without calling the police, Darley wrote
1) Social psychologists ask not how people are different or why are the people who failed to respond monsters, but how are all people the same and how might anybody in that situation be influenced not to respond.
2) What influences reach the person from the group? We argued for a several step model in which a person first had to define a situation. Emergencies don’t come with a sign saying ‘I am an emergency’. In defining the event as an emergency one looks at other people to see their reactions to the situation and interpret the meaning that lies behind their actions.
3) When multiple people are present, the responsibility to intervene does not focus clearly on any one person. (Darley in Evans, 1980(1): 216-17).
Haslam I 205
Latané and Darley identified two processes that they suggested served to inhibit intervention in emergency situations: diffusion of responsibility and pluralistic ignorance.
A. Diffusion of responsibility refers to the idea that as the number of other people present in a given situation increases, the responsibility that a given individual feels for responding to that situation is correspondingly diminished.
B. Pluralistic ignorance refers to the idea that the presence of other people who remain inactive or seem unconcerned during an event can dissuade or discourage an individual from intervention, even though they might have felt concerned by the situation. (Cf. >Conformity/Asch).
1. Evans, R.I. (1980) The Making of Social Psychology. New York: Gardner Press.
Mark Levine, „ Helping in Emergencies. Revisiting Latané and Darley’s bystander studies“, in: Joanne R. Smith and S. Alexander Haslam (eds.) 2017. Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic studies. London: Sage Publications_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017