Examine factors influencing bystanderism





Latané & Darley (1970) Theory of the unresponsive bystander:


According to the theory the presence of other people or just the perception that other people are witnessing the event will decrease the likelihood that an individual will intervene in an emergency due to psychological processes like:





Latané and Darley suggested a cognitive decision model. They argue that helping requires that the bystander:


  1. Notice the situation (if you are in a hurry you may not even see what is happening).


  1. Interpret the situation as an emergency (e.g. people screaming or asking for help, which could also be interpreted as a family quarrel which is none of your business.


  1. Accept some personal responsibility for helping even though other people are present.


  1. Consider how to help (although you may be unsure of what to do or doubt your skills).


  1. Decide how to help (you may observe how other people react or decide that it is too dangerous to intervene).


At each of these stages, the bystander can make a decision to help or not.


Study to use: Latané and Darley (1968)


Pilliavin et al. (1969) The cost reward model of helping


The theory stipulates that both cognitive (cost-benefit analysis) and emotional factors (unpleasant emotional arousal) determine whether bystanders to an emergency will intervene. The model focuses on egoistic motivation to escape an unpleasant emotional state (opposite of altruistic motivation; the empathy-altruism model)


Study to use: Pilliavin et al. (1969)