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"Group Inhibition of Bystander Intervention In Emergencies
Transcript of "Group Inhibition of Bystander Intervention In Emergencies
Study by John M. Darley & Bibb Latane
Post Experimental Interview
"If you were in an emergency and needed help,would you rather there be one witness to your situation or several?"
(Latane & Darley, 1968)
In the alone condition, most participants acted quickly and inspected the smoke. Some participants responded by smelling, and waving their hands in the smoke. Then they informed an authority. On average the subjects reported the smoke within two minutes of noticing it. 3/4 of the 24 participants in this condition reported the smoke before the experiment was terminated.
Two Passive Confederates Condition
When the two confederates are placed in a room with a naive participant, the behavior changed dramatically. The results indicated that of the 10 subjects participating in the study, only 1 person reported the smoke. The other 9 participants continued working on their questionnaires while waving the smoke away from their faces. They would cough, rub their eyes, and open a window, but they did not report the smoke.
Male Columbia students were under the assumption that they were going to an interview to discuss problems at their university.
In this experiment participants were placed in a waiting room, and given a questionnaire. While filling out the questionnaire, the room would slowly fill up with smoke. The participants were split into three groups. One was tested alone, and the others were placed into groups of three. The groups of three wither had 2 passive confederates or 3 naive participants. If the participants did not report the smoke within 6 minutes the experiment was terminated.
The presence of smoke
The Three Conditions
1. Alone condition (one naive bystander)
2. Two passive confederates and one naive by-stander
3. Three naive by-standers
"No subject showed any sign of panic, most simply said, "There's something strange going on in there, there seems to be some kind of smoke coming out of the wall.""
(Darley and Latane 1968)
Three naive by-standers condition
A bystander who witnesses passive reactions of other bystanders will be less likely to take action in an emergency situation than if he was alone.
In this condition there were eight groups each with three naive participants. Only 38% of the groups reported the smoke within the first 4 minutes. Out of the 24 participants in the groups, only 3 people mentioned the smoke.
After six minutes, the interviewer invited the participant to his office where he asked them if they encountered any problems while completing the questionnaire. Most of the participants acknowledged the smoke. The interviewer acted surprised about the smoke and told them to elaborate. Subjects who acknowledged the smoke described their actions as consistent with what they had done. They thought the situation seemed "strange" and felt that it required attention. Participants who did not report the smoke collectively thought the vent was not on fire and did not perceive the smoke to be harmful or dangerous.
Amount of time participant remained in smoke-filled room
Noticing the Smoke
The Bystander Effect
"The phenomenon in which the greater number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress"
Diffusion of responsibility
Researchers had to take into consideration the exact moment when the participants noticed the smoke. Most participants showed an "distinct, if slight, startle reaction" (Latane and Darley, 1968). On average the smoke was noticed within five seconds of its introduction into the room during the alone condition, and about 20 seconds for the other two conditions
Their hypothesis was supported
Most participants stated that they did not react to the smoke because they did not think there was anything to react about.
Latane, Bibb, and John M. Darley. "Group Inhibition Of Bystander Intervention In Emergencies." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 10 (1968): 215-21. Print.
Cherry, Kendra. "What Is the Bystander Effect?" Web. 27 Apr. 2015. <http://psychology.about.com/od/socialpsychology/a/bystandereffect.htm>.