Actions Taken By Bystanders In A State Of Emergency Case Study

708 words - 3 pages

The psychologists, Darley and Latane, wanted to see what causes some individuals to react and what causes others to hesitate. The inspiration for this study was an event that occurred late one night in Queens. A woman was stabbed many times by her attacker while many people sat in their apartments and watched. It was already too late when one onlooker decided to call the police. According to Darley and Latane, people often hesitate to interfere because of diffusion of responsibility, evaluation apprehension, and lack of experience or knowledge.
When people are involved in an emergency the fist thing they do is look around at what others are doing. When you are alone, you may feel more personally responsible to provide help, but if you are in a group you pass the responsibility onto the others and stand by, this is called diffusion of responsibility. Darley and Latante did an experiment to test this and found the same results. They put some people alone during an emergency and some in a group. The people alone reported the emergency in under a minute and the people in the group hesitated for up to three minutes before responding. This proves why some people in the apartments, from the first event, stayed in their homes and didn’t report the attack. They believed someone else had already taken care of it and responded before them. They didn’t feel as personally responsible for helping so they decided not to help at all.
When we are presented with an emergency we may hesitate to avoid looking foolish if it turns out to not be an actual emergency. This is called evaluation apprehension and it is another reason why people hesitate or do not respond during an emergency. In the case study, they used an example of seeing a child floating face down in a pool. The person who noticed this hesitated for 30 seconds before the child came up and swam away. If the child had been in any sort of danger, the hesitation could have prevented the bystander from saving her life. The bystander was worried...

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