Bystander Effect Our hypothesis was disproved in that the bystander effect made it less likely for strangers to help out. The bystander effect is defined as the following: the more people present when help is needed, the less likely any of them is provide assistance. At first glance, we assumed that it would be the opposite effect. We automatically were led to believe that there was a safety in number. However, while testing out our theory, the hypothesis turned out to be false. The more people there were around in place of an accident or an incidence, the longer it took for them to approach the person (in this case Courtney and Anna).
Although it was hard to understand most of the results in our project, we were able to realize that it was very unlikely that people would help and jump in to assist us if they are unaware of what happened or if they perceive the situation as being too ambiguous to interfere with. After the final filming of our video projects, we were able to distinguish the two different scenarios that we faced. For some of the scenarios in our film, people were rather quick to jump into help. For example, when Courtney fell in the mall, two ladies who were passing by rushed to help her up after watching her fall.
However, this was completely different from the result that we had in the school track field, when it took nearly about 20 minutes for someone to finally help Courtney up. We were able to pick up on the fact that there were much less people around in the mall than there was students running on the track field during Courtney’s fall. This supported the bystander effect in that the more people there were (about forty students vs about three to five in the mall) the longer it took for them to help. Our results also helped us to see that strangers helped only when they thought that they were responsible to.
Factors such as age, and gender contributed to a big part of the final result. After conducting this experiment we also recognized that many more people were willing to help than we expected once they assessed the situation and determined that help was really required. However, in a couple instances observers walked right by acting as if they did not see us. We noticed that we were more likely to receive assistance in a store atmosphere and later realized it was the employee’s responsibility to help us.
It is possible that they didn’t immediately help us because there were a lot of people around and they experienced diffusion of responsibility. It surprised us how quickly people were willing to help even if they did not know us. There were not any flaws or shortcomings that stood out too much. We made sure that our video was hidden from sight so that people would not suspect anything of the falls. We also made sure that we tested out the difference environments (a big number of people vs a couple) to further prove the bystander effect.
We also tried to make to falls seem believable so that people would act as they would in reality because we knew that the people’s awareness of the experiment would usually change their behaviors. Although the project seemed to be pretty successful, future research regarding the bystander effect could include more varieties such as the gender, age, or even the physique of the victim. Even though this was hard to test out in our group because of the fact that we were all the same gender, and were of similar age, it would be an interesting project and research for the future.