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There has been a lot of research into bystander behaviour.

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Describe and evaluate one or more explanations relating to human * Bystander behaviour or Altruism. (24 marks) There has been a lot of research into bystander behaviour. Latane and Darley produced a five-stage cognitive model of bystander behaviour to try to explain why people help or not. If the bystander answers no to any question then no help will be given. The model starts off with whether the bystander notices the event, they then have to define it as an emergency, next, they have to assume responsibility and decide that they know what to do. If they get this far they have to implement their decision and help the person in need. They have several reasons why people decide no and have many studies, outlined below to support their main concepts which are: * Diffusion of responsibility - the responsibility for helping is being shared with other people around. * Pluralistic ignorance - other people not responding makes us think that the situation is not an emergency. * Perceived competence - whether you think you can deal with the situation. Latane and Darley carried out research into the influence of situational factors on helping behaviour/bystander behaviour. They asked male college students to sit in a waiting room and fill in a questionnaire believing that they were about to take part in a study about people's attitude towards urban life. ...read more.


This model can be successfully applied to other situations such as donating a kidney to a relative. It shows that the presence of others is a powerful factor influencing bystander behaviour. According to Schroeder et al it provides valuable framework for understanding why bystander non-intervention occurs. The biggest weakness of this model is that it does not explain why people help. It is over-concerned with why people don't help. It does not explain why 'no' decisions are chosen at each stage especially after the situation has been defined as an emergency and they have accepted responsibility. Latane and Darley's idea of diffusion of responsibility has been criticised by Piliavin. In his New York subway experiment he found that help was on a crowded subway just as frequent as one a relatively empty one. This led Piliavin to attempt to explain bystander behaviour. Piliavin proposed a model of bystander behaviour called the Arousal; Cost/Reward model. It is made up of 3 stages: 1) Physiological arousal, 2) Labelling the arousal and 3) Evaluating the consequences of helping. Piliavin's model is a form of universal egoism as the chosen outcome is usually decided by what is best for us. Piliavin's model tries to accommodate much of the previous research on the situational influences and helper. ...read more.


'Deservingness' of help, the seriousness of the situation, the victim's physical appearance, their race, how similar they are to the helper and their general appearance are all influential factors. Piliavin et al. (1969) subway experiment shows that a lame victim received more help than the 'drunken' victim. They also studied the effects of the victim having a birthmark on their face. Helping dropped from 86% when the victim was disfigured to 61% when they were been found. Piliavin called this 'wee-ness'. Victims are more likely to be helped if they are seen as deserving causes rather than the cause of their own misfortune, like the drunken people in Piliavin's study. These factors and several more all need to be taken into account when drawing conclusions from research into bystander behaviour. Other factors include; proximity of the participants, role of competence-some people feel they are not qualified to help and would make things worse. Also, the presence of the researcher in experiments may deter them from helping or may make the situation unclear as if it was a real emergency, the experimenter/researcher would help (demand characteristics.) From all this research we can gain a fairly clear understanding of why people don't help but not why they do, which is an important area for understanding altruism and bystander behaviour. The best approach for understanding bystander behaviour would be a combination of all approaches, including the socio-biological theory. Richard Amalou ...read more.

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