Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Haslam I 205
Decision making process/helping behavior/psychology of decision making/Darley/Latané: in the results of their bystander studies (>Experiment/Darley/Latané; Darley and Latané, 1968(1)) they identified 5 steps of decision making associated with emergency situation (Latané and Darley, 1070(2)):
1) Notice that something is happening.
2) Interpret the event as an emergency.
3) Take responsibility for providing help.
4) Decide how to act.
5) Provide help.
[The authors] argued that failure to intervene in an emergency in the presence of others could result from diffusion of responsibility and pluralistic ignorance (>Terminology/Darle/Latané) at different stages of this sequence. For example, pluralistic ignorance might reduce the likelihood of interpreting an event as an emergency (Step 2) if bystanders look to others for information about how to act and assume that they are not responding because they do not see the situation as problematic. On the other hand, diffusion of responsibility might disrupt intervention at the point of taking responsibility (Step 3) if a person is surrounded by other bystanders who could also take responsibility for action (but do not). VsLatané, VsDarley: >Bystander effect/Psychological theories.



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 Darley, J.M. (1970) The Unresponsive Bystander: Why Doesn’t He Help? New York: Meredith Corporation.

Social Psychology: Revisiting the Classic Studies (S.216). SAGE Publications. Kindle-Version.


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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