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Darley and latane

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Darley, J. M., and Latane, B. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of resposiblity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8(4), 377-383. Darley and Latane (1968) conducted a study to see the reaction of bystanders if an emergency was to occur. The experiment showed if the bystanders were concerned with the other bystanders, than to the actual victim involved in the emergency. In the experiment they are finding out the actual response time before someone is thought out to seek help. The reason for the experiment is because a woman named, Kitty Genovese, was murdered in New York City, and out of 38 people no one acted upon calling for help. The subjects picked were fifty-nine females and thirteen male. All were students taking courses at New York University, and were told to participate in an experiment, which was a course requirement. All subjects were not to be met face to face. They were individually seated in separate rooms and all given headphones and a microphone. The reason for them in separate rooms and talking into microphones is so they can be recorded. In which they will measure the results from. After listening to the experimenter, which he explained that he would not be listening to their discussion. The reason for him not listening to the discussion is to take away the actual experimenter from the scene of the emergency. Next, the subjects began to start the discussion. The future victim spoke first, and then the other subjects followed. As the subjects spoke they had an idea of how many people were involved in the discussion. After the first round, the victim spoke again in which at this time he had a seizure. From the time the victim’s speech began is when they began the reaction time of the subjects response. The actual group size variable was one of three: a two-person group, a three-person group, or a six-person group. Each group was performed during the experiment at separate times. The major independent variable was the number of people thought to be listening to the victim. The major dependent variable was the time elapsed from the start of the victims fit until the subject left the room. If the subject took longer than six minutes the experiment was aborted. Then finally after reveling the true meaning of the experiment they were asked to fill out a questionnaire. The number of people thought to be in the experiment had a large impact on whether the subjects should report the emergency. Eighty five percent of the subjects who thought they alone knew of the victim’s plight reported the seizure before the victim was cut off, only thirty-one percent of those who thought four other bystanders were present did so (Darley & Latane 1968). Every one of the subjects in the two-person groups, but only 62% of the subjects in the six-person groups, ever reported the emergency (Darley & Latane 1968). The experiment goes to show that if other subjects are present the likeliness of response time if poor. Gender differences did not have a major contribution because the experiment stated that males and females responded to the emergency at the same speed. The results of the experiment supported the hypothesis that the response time is likely to be slower if there are more people present at the scene of an emergency.

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