Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Haslam I 202
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 and Latané devised some of the most innovative and influential experiments in the history of social psychology. (>Experiment/Darley/Latané; Darley and Latané (1968(1)); >Decision making process/helping behavior/Darley/Latané, >Helping behavior/DarleyLatané.
Impact of the bystander study: (somewhat ironically) discovery of the effect has done little to help promote helping behaviour: „To our knowledge, the research has not contributed to the development of practical strategies for increasing bystander intervention … none of us has been able to mobilise the increasing store of social psychological understanding accumulated over the last decade(…)“. (Latané and Nida, 1981(2): 322).



1. Darley, J. and Latané, B. (1968) ‘Group inhibition of bystander intervention in emergencies’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 10: 215-21.
2. Latané, B. and Nida, S. (1981) ‘Ten years of research on group size and helping’, Psychological Bulletin, 89: 308–24.



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


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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.
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.
Latané, Bibb
Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017


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