Jane and Kerry are involved in an altercation that is captu…

Jane and Kerry are involved in an altercation that is captured on tape. In the video, Jane is seen walking with her young son when Kerry attacks her. Jane falls to the ground and Kerry assaults her, ultimately punching and kicking her dozens of times. A group of individuals gathers around the two women, take out their cell phones, and record the fight. They do not help Jane or call for help. The behavior of the group is an example of which of the following terms?

The behavior of the group in the given scenario can be categorized as the “bystander effect.” The term refers to a social psychological phenomenon where individuals in a group are less likely to intervene or provide help in an emergency situation when other people are present. This diffusion of responsibility occurs because individuals assume that someone else in the group will take action, leading to a decreased likelihood of any one individual taking action themselves.

The bystander effect was initially studied and popularized by social psychologists Bibb Latane and John Darley in the late 1960s. They conducted a series of experiments, including the famous Kitty Genovese case, to understand why individuals often fail to intervene in emergencies. In the Genovese case, a young woman was attacked and murdered in full view of multiple witnesses who failed to take any action to help or call the police.

One key factor contributing to the bystander effect is the diffusion of responsibility. When there are more people present in an emergency situation, individuals tend to feel less personally responsible for taking action. They assume that someone else in the group will step in, resulting in a collective sense of responsibility rather than individual responsibility. This diffusion of responsibility decreases the likelihood of anyone taking action, as each person assumes someone else will do so instead.

Another factor contributing to the bystander effect is the presence of other witnesses. When individuals see that others are not intervening, they interpret the situation as less urgent or severe. They engage in social comparison and look to the behavior of others to guide their own response. If others in the group are not responding, individuals interpret this as a signal that the situation is not as serious as it may appear.

The bystander effect can also be influenced by ambiguity in the situation. If the emergency is unclear or the appropriate response is uncertain, individuals are more likely to rely on the behavior of others to guide their own actions. They may hesitate or refrain from taking action due to the lack of clarity or fear of making a mistake. This ambiguity further contributes to the diffusion of responsibility, as individuals may assume that someone else in the group has a better understanding of the situation and will take appropriate action.

In the context of the given scenario, the group of individuals gathering around Jane and Kerry and recording the fight without intervening or calling for help exemplifies the bystander effect. Despite witnessing an assault and Jane clearly being in need of assistance, the presence of multiple witnesses and the diffusion of responsibility likely discourage anyone from intervening. Each individual in the group assumes that someone else will take action or call for help, failing to recognize their own personal responsibility to assist in the situation.