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Bystander Behaviour.

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Introduction

BYSTANDER BEHAVIOUR Bystander behaviour, an integral part of altruism has been 1 of many enduring questions that social psychologist have investigated. Psychologists have attempted to define BB in terms of people's willingness to intervene when someone is in trouble or in an emergency. Latane and Darley theorised that the reason for the lack of interventions during the murder of Kitty Genovese was that there was a large number of potential helpers. It was found a larger number of people affect people's ability to define of a situation as an emergency. The proposed 3 possible processes that might explain the reluctance of others to 'get involved' in situation such as Kitty Genovese: Diffusion of responsibility, pluralistic ignorance and audience inhibition. ..SexC By nAtUrE ...sExC By NaME... When other people are present, people assume someone else will deal with the situation. When 1 person is present then that person is 100% responsible. However, if 10 people are present the responsibility is diffused amongst 10, hence the less effort each individual makes. This has been demonstrated by Latane and Darley's 1970 'smoke experiment'. They had participants filling out questionnaires when smoke poured in though the vents. They found 75% of those w0ho were working on their own reported the 'smoke' within 2 minutes, but 15% of those in groups continued working for the full 6 minutes in which they could not see the questionnaires at all! ...read more.

Middle

As most of the studies were lab experiments, there was the problem of experimental validity, did the participants believe the situation is real. The experiment was conducted in an artificial environment, which makes it difficult to generalise to real situation and therefore the result shave low ecological validity. Also there were the limitations of experimenter - participant relationship, demand characteristics and the outcome could have been due to the participants knowing that they were being observed. The Samaritan field experiment, it is not known whether the people involved were debriefing, could the study have cause any distress? In the smoke experiment, the question of whether the researchers checked the participants' health before exposing them to the 'smoke' is not known. An important and interesting factor is that we do not know who the other bystanders are, there may have been a doctor within the crowd, which may have affected outcome of results. Results due to conformity. It can be seen therefore that research into BB has emphasised the complexity of the motivations and factors involved when deciding to help someone or not. These studies have made a radical contribution to research in that it has clarified causes why some people help and why some do not. Altruism Altruism, a form of prosocial behaviour had been one of many enduring questions social psychologists have investigated. Psychologists have attempted to explain altruism in terms of a person's willingness to help at a cost. ...read more.

Conclusion

Smith et al 1989 developed a model empathy joy hypothesis that assumes we enjoy other people's relief at being helped and so we help others because we are rewarding by their happiness. In Smith's et al's study on feedback Smith used a phrase 'helpers high' claiming that people get satisfaction when they see that the people they have helped feel better. It has been predicted that if we get feedback it encourages helping behaviour. Batson 1991 argues that another factor that determines altruistic behaviour is the similarity to the person who needs help. We are more likely to feel emphatic concern when we a close attachment with the person in need. As the studies were lab experiments, there was the problem of experimental validity, did the participants believe the situation is real. The experiment was conducted in an artificial environment, which makes it difficult to generalise to real situation and therefore the result shave low ecological validity. Also there were the limitations of experimenter - participant relationship, demand characteristics and the outcome could have been due to the participants knowing that they were being observed. Even though the studies have their limitations they have made a radical contribution to psychological research. The results also vary across cultures and so will also depend on the era pf that culture. It can be seen therefore that research into altruism has emphasised the complexity of the motivations and factors involved when deciding to help someone or not. These studies have clarified causes why some people help and why some do not. ...read more.

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