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Bystander Apathy Experiment Essay

884 words - 4 pages

Bystander Apathy Experiment (1968)
On March 13, 1964, Kitty Genovese was attacked and stabbed by a man later identified as Winston Moseley. Despite Genovese’s cries for help, none of the people in the nearby apartment building who heard her cries called police to report the incident. The attack first began at 3:20 AM, but it was not until 3:50 AM that someone first contacted police.
In 1968, John Darley and Bibb Latane became intrigued by the incident and decided to conduct an experiment which was given the name the Bystander Apathy Experiment. Their main goal was to figure out why people, in cases like Genovese’s, did not come for help. These two psychologists asked volunteers to ...view middle of the document...

To go against a group and say, “you are all wrong for not helping and I am right”, is a hard think for people to do, so what do they do? Nothing.
If I ever have the chance to be in charge of conducting an experiment such as this one, I would arrange things a little differently. First, I would not have a discussion with the volunteers about “extremely personal” things. Having an extremely personal conversation with another person is very difficult; maybe those 85% left to help, not because they wanted to help, but because they were uncomfortable talking about personal things; maybe it was “a way out” for them. Second, instead of having an incident occur over the intercom, I would rather have the volunteers physically see the incident. Why? I think people respond differently when hearing something and seeing something happen in front of them. Maybe those volunteers would have acted differently.
Darley and Latane, the two psychologists who performed the experiment, advised people what to do if they were ever in a situation like Kitty Genovese: “Let’s make clear that there’s no ambiguity about what’s happened…Everybody I really need help and you, Mr., you, I’m looking you in the eyes, will you please do…whatever”. When you tell a specific person to complete a specific task, he/she knows that the responsibility rests in his/her hands; he is now responsible for what happens to you. And if that person decides to do nothing, then I have a pretty good idea that for the rest of his life,...

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