Helping in Emergency Situations: The Bystander Effect

1. Introductory examples: Deletha Word case and Jessica McClure case

2 Bystander effect

A. Prior research
Contributing factors

    (1) Fear of blunders (audience inhibition)
    Pluralistic ignorance
    Diffusion of responsibility

C. The evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the bystander effect is not due to apathy.

D. Discussion topic: You are leaving the Gordon Palmer building as classes are changing. You trip and then fall down the stairs. As you try to stand, you feel a searing pain in your ankle and think that it is broken. You are also feeling faint and are concerned that you are about to pass out. Using your knowledge of prior research on the bystander effect, discuss what you would do to get immediate help. (One note: You may not use the phrase, "I've fallen and I can't get up"!)

3. Cognitive model of intervention

A. Notice that something is happening.
Interpret the situation as one in which help is needed.
Assume personal responsibility.
Choose a form of assistance.
Implement the assistance.

4. Factors that reduce the bystander effect

A. Bystanders know one another.
Witnesses have special bond to the victim.
Bystanders think that the victim is especially dependent on them.
Bystanders have considerable training in emergency intervention.
Witnesses have knowledge of the bystander effect.