Factors That Affect Bystander Behavior In Criminal Situations

886 words - 4 pages

This essay will give examples and discuss the factors which can affect bystander behaviour in various situations. Models explaining theories will be looked at along with various studies, as well as looking at the three social cognitive processes by Latane and Darley and explain how these were put together to propose a complex cognitive model. The essay will explain the Arousal cost reward model by Piliavin and Piliavin.

After the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964, bystander behaviour was first looked at by Latane and Darley in 1970. Kitty was repeatedly stabbed by a stalker on three separate attacks. During the first two attempts, voices and the sight of lights going on interrupted him and frightened him off but seeing as nobody was coming to her rescue, he went back the third time which consequently led to her death. During the police investigation it emerged that 38 of her neighbours had separately witnessed the attack and yet no-one had intervened or called the police.
It was through kitty Genovese murder and early laboratory studies that led Latane and Darley to introduce the concept of unresponsive bystander and bystander apathy and according to Latane and Darley decision model, a bystander will pass through a logical series of steps before actually offering any help. Therefore a negative decision at any step will lead to non- intervention.

The three social cognitive processes towards the behaviour of bystanders by Latane and Darley that were involved in the passive behaviour of bystanders and these are, Diffusion of responsibility is where there is a tendency that the individual will assume that someone else has taken control of the situation when in fact as a result no one actually does. Audience inhibition is where an individual is concerned with what others might think of them and not want to react to what may be a false alarm as they could feel embarrassed. Pluralistic ignorance which means that an individual will observe the behaviour from other onlookers and take his cue from their behaviour before actually helping and Latane and Darley put these ideas together to form a complex model and it was suggested that there were five steps necessary in order for an individual to take positive action.
Step one is that an individual must notice that something is happening. A study by Darley and Batson (1973) is an example of this, whereby seminary students had to give a talk in a nearby building on the Good Samaritan. Each group were given different levels of urgency. Group one were told they had plenty of time to get to the other building, group two were told they...

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