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Bystander Intervention Essay

In this assignment, I will critically evaluate 8 research articles relevant to my topic of “Do gender, culture, and age groups influence the way society acts as a described by the bystander effect”? Bystander Intervention in a Crime: The Effect of a Mass-media Campaign Leonard Bickman, 1975 Two studies were performed in order to investigate bystander intervention during a staged shop-lifting in a campus bookstore. The first study began with an advertisement against shop-lifting in the campus newspaper that outlined what students should do in case they spot a shop-lifter and why they should act.

Campaign posters were also hung throughout the bookstore. A total of 184 students were tested, with 93 before the campaign and 91 after the campaign. A young student staged as a shop-lifter stole a book in front of the subject and 2 observers rated the behaviour of the subject on a 5-point scale. A few minutes later, a store clerk would ask the subject if they had witnessed a shop-lifting. Results showed that the campaign only had limited effect on intervention behaviour. 25% students said that they did not want to get the student in trouble. In the second study, a middle-aged woman posed as the shop-lifter.

Results were similar to the first student where only 2. 3% of the subjects intervened. 25% also said that they did not want to get someone in trouble. Based on these results, it seems as though public notification of theft has little effect on bystander intervention, and the general reason to not report theft is because subjects don’t want to get somebody in trouble. There was no mention of gender amongst subjects, and subject samples were limited to just students. Aside from showing the lack of effect of public notification, little can be pulled from this study as insight for my RQ.

Bystander Reactions to a Violent Theft: Crime in Jerusalem Schwartz & Gottlieb, 1976 72 Israeli students took part in a study that exposed them to a violent crime. Some were perceived to be alone, while some were aware of other bystander’s reactions. Results showed that 65% of the bystanders responded with 22% tried to enter the victim’s room, 14% attempted to contact researches, and 29% rang the bell. Results show that subjects that perceived themselves as along were more likely to respond (70% compared to 40%) and also took less time to respond.

The significance of this study is that it shows the existence of bystander effect outside of western culture. Limiting factors that could help my RQ are lack of age group and gender variables. Crowded Minds: The Implicit Bystander Effect Garcia, Weaver, Moskowitz, & Darley, 2002 129 undergraduate students from Princeton University took part in a questionnaire that tried to determine what percentage of their annual they would be willing to donate to charity. Students were placed into one of three groups: 1 Person, 10 person, and 30 persons.

Results show that those that perceived themselves to be in the 1 person group pledged the most whilst those that thought they were among a group of 30 people pledged the least percentage of their income. Analysis show that students pledged less in the group of 30 because they believed that others were already donating so there was no need to donate as much, whereas the student in the 1 person group felt the opposite. There was no mention of gender and the subject age was extremely limited to mostly 18-22yr old undergrad students.

The researcher could have widened the questionnaire to include faculty to expand age group. Bystander effect is shown in this study. Effects of Group Status and Victim Sex on Male Bystander’s Responses to a Potential Party Rape Jennifer Katz, 2015 77 male undergraduates of various races: White, Asian, Hispanic, Black and other, participated in party rape scenarios. Subjects imagined attending a party either alone, or with friends where a man leads a drunk female or male into a room. Bystander effect was measured by asking subjects what they would do and was rated on a scale.

Results show that bystanders were less likely to intervene compared to individuals, and bystanders were also less likely to intervene if the victim was a male. Although it was mentioned that the subjects were of multiple races, there was no indication on what percentage of each race were willing to respond to potential rape. The most important insight I got out of this study is that in the case of rape, bystanders are less likely to intervene when the victim is male.

The bystander effect and social control behaviour: the effect of the presence of others on people’s reactions to norm violations Chekroun & Brauer, 2002 A set of two studies attempted to identify what extent subjects would respond to either “graffiti in an elevator”, or “littering in the park”. In each of the scenarios, subjects were asked to fill out a questionnaire which asked them “to what extent was the act contrary to social norms”, “to what extent the behaviour was inappropriate in that situation”, and “to what extent the suffered from those actions”. Results indicate that both behaviours were equally counter-normative and inappropriate. The second study consisted of observing the reaction of the subjects in each of the scenarios.

Results show that 50% of subjects did nothing; 22% of subjects displayed an angry look; 8% “sighed”; 2% made a comment to another bystander; 6% made a polite comment to the person performing the act; and 10% commented aggressively. Similar to other studies in this assignment, most people did nothing to intervene. Although all subjects agreed that both acts were inappropriate, only 50% reacted in some way, and only 16% approached the performer directly.

Brief report: The bystander effect in cyberbullying incidents Machockova, Dedkova, & Mezulanikova. 2015 79 adolescents between ages 11-19 participated in a survey in across various schools in the Czech Republic. Subjects that reported witnessing cyberbullying were asked to answer a serious of questions in regards to the most severe incident that was seen. Results indicate that when subjects were more supportive when perceived as alone. In addition, the author suggests that even a small number of bystanders can cause the bystander effect which reflections how dangerous social media can be for cyberbullying victims. Limitations to this short study are age, race, and gender.

The effect of victims’ responses to overt bullying on same-sex peer bystander reactions Sokol, Bussey, & Rapee, 2015 206 students of various cultures from 1 boy’s and 1 girl’s private school were asked to fill out a survey after being shown a variety of videos of same-sex bullying. The researcher’s results were that the depending on the victim’s response to bullying, it would influence the reaction of the bystanders. Angry victims were perceived negatively, confident victims made the scenario seem less serious to the subjects, and sad victims encouraged more subjects to take positive action.

This is an interesting research because it suggests that reactions from bystanders can be subject to how the victim reacts to distress. Also, this research takes into account various races and equal genders, but is limited to only grade 5 and grade 7 children… Young Children Show the Bystander Effect in Helping Situations Plotner, Over, Carpenter, Tomasello, 2015 60 5-yr olds participated in a study that observed the willingness to help the teacher in the case she asked for aid. The children sat in two positions: alone or with bystanders.

The teacher spills water onto the floor and makes a variety of statements that implies that she needs someone to get her paper towel. It is important to note results showed no effect of gender. Similar to the study of crime in Jerusalem, results indicate that children that were alone were more likely to help the teacher and responded much faster than those that were around bystanders. The significance of this study is that bystander effect is found even in children, which suggests that bystander effect could be a part of human instinct. Race was a non-factor in this study.

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