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Bystander Effect Essay

  • Submitted by: cutypi908
  • on June 14, 2012
  • Category: Psychology
  • Length: 507 words

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Below is an essay on "Bystander Effect" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Catherine (Kitty) Genovese was murdered on March 16, 1964 around 3:30 AM in Queens, New York. The stabbing of Kitty Genovese took place outside her apartment building in the course of a half hour. Winston Mosley stabbed her over 30 times, leaving her twice when “spooked” by neighbors, but coming back to “finish her off” when the lights in the apartment building went off. It was not a spectacular murder for Queens until the New York Times published the article, “37 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call.” That article shocked many and helped make the case important to social psychology. The Kitty Genovese case was made into a popular case simply because the murder was witnessed by over 30 people and no one called the police to report what was happening. This is called the bystander effect: groups of people witness a crime or an emergency and are reluctant to report for a number of reasons or excuses. In interviews conducted of the people that witnessed the murder, some say they did not report what was happening because he or she did not want to get involved or that they believed someone else had already called the police. Social psychology uses the Kitty Genovese case as an example for the bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility in many textbooks and frequently relates the three. Diffusion of responsibility is what happened in the apartment complex the night of Kitty’s murder. The tenants witnessed or heard her pleas for help, but not one of them stepped up to the plate. When it is known that others are around and are witnessing the same thing, it is less likely that one person is going to take the initiative to call the police when some one else could be doing that same thing. Social roles are the expected behaviors set on a person or a specific gender. Social roles of the people who witnessed the murder of Kitty Genovese were not held to what would be the norm, to call the police and report the crime. Instead, they relied on each other to be the ones holding up to...

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