What Use does the Bystander Effect have in Social Psychology?

Bystander Effect in Psychology
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Psychology is often defined as the scientific study of the behavior and the mind. In this field of study, there are a number of different concepts which are included. And some of those different concepts are consciousness, unconscious, precociousness, feelings, thoughts, emotions, reflexes, and many other concepts.There are also a number of different branches of psychology. And some of those different branches of psychology are social psychology, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, organizational psychology, clinical psychology, legal psychology, applied psychology, and many other branches. Out of all these branches, the branch of social psychology plays a very important role in an individual’s life.

Social psychology can be defined as the study of the feelings, thoughts, and behavior of an individual which might be influenced by the implied, actual, or imagined presence of other individuals or some kind of social situation. In this branch of psychology, there is a scientific approach which is taken up to narrow down and formulate a number of different laws and theories so that the understanding of how people tend to behave or react in a social situation can be narrowed down. And one such concept which is a rather significant part of social psychology is the bystander effect. In this essay, readers will be able to learn about this bystander effect in detail.

The Meaning
The bystander effect is also known as the bystander apathy. This social psychology concept can be defined as a phenomenon in which an individual might be less willing to help somebody in need if there are already a number of people present. Researchers have been trying to study this phenomenon since a considerable amount of time. And according to some researches, it has been found that as the numbers of bystanders increase the tendency of the individual to help somebody else in need decreases. So, it can be said that both of these factors are inversely related. There are a number of different factors that can have an effect on the bystander effect. And some of those factors are group cohesiveness, ambiguity, diffusion of responsibility, and many other factors.

The Factors
According to some theories, it has also been formulated that there are three main factors which can have a strong effect on the bystander effect. It is also important for all readers to note that the effect of these factors increases as the number of bystanders increase. And those three different factors are mentioned below.

Social Inhibition
Social inhibition is a social psychology concept. This social psychology concept is referred to as the unconscious or the conscious avoidance of some kind of social situation or social interactions. This social situation or social interaction is often considered in a negative light by society. This concept is depicted by an individual when he or she feels that the society might disapprove  his or her choice or feelings. This particular can only work in a situation where the individual is acutely aware of the fact that other people in the crowd can also observe that individual.

Pluralistic Ignorance
Pluralistic ignorance can also be regarded as the conformity of the inaction which might be depicted by other individuals. To understand this concept in a better manner, consider an example. Imagine that there are two different scenarios. In one of those scenarios an individual is sitting in a group while in the other scenario that individual is sitting in a room alone. Suddenly that individual hears a crash outside which is caused by somebody falling. Here, it can be easily said that the individual would be more likely to go and help the person who has fallen down in the case where the individual was sitting alone instead of the scenario in which the individual was sitting in a group. And for this effect of pluralistic ignorance to take place it is important for the individual to observe the other people who might be present around him or her.

Diffusion of Responsibility
In this effect, an individual holds a belief that the obligation of that individual to help somebody in need is reduced if there are other individuals present around him or her. The higher the number of bystanders the less the individual feels responsible for helping the other individual who might be in need. For this factor to take place it is not required for the individual to either observe other people or be aware of the fact that the individual might himself or herself being observed. There are also a number of studies which consider that this is one of the most important of the bystander effect or the bystander apathy.

The Variables
As it was mentioned above that, there are a number of researches which have been conducted on this particular concept. And because of that, a number of different researchers have come up with characteristics of the emergencies which can have an effect on the bystander effect. In this essay, readers will be able to know about the characteristics of the effects which were stated in the researches which were conducted by Darley and Latane.

According to the findings of the research which was conducted by Latane and Darley, there are five different types of characteristics of all kinds of emergencies which can have an effect on the bystander effect. And those five different types of characteristics of the emergencies are mentioned below.

    • All emergencies which include actual harm or a threat of harm
    • All kinds of emergencies which might either unusual or rare
    • Emergencies which cannot be either expected or predicted
      • All kinds of emergencies which require some kind of immediate action
    • Emergency situations in which the action of the individual might differ from one situation to another

These are all the different characteristics of the emergencies which can have a strong effect on the bystander effect. Due to all those emergencies, an individual can also go through some kind of behavioral or cognitive process. That behavioral or cognitive process also consists of five different stages. And those five different stages of the behavioral or cognitive process that an individual can go through are mentioned below.

    • Notice: In this stage, the individual notices that something is going on around him or her
    • Interpret: In this stage, the individual assesses the situation around him or her and interprets that situation as a type of an emergency
    • The degree of Responsibility: In this stage, the individual feels a certain kind of degree of responsibility for helping the other individual who might be in need or who might be dealing with an emergency situation
    • The form of Assistance: In this stage, the individual decides whether or not he or she needs to help the other person in need
    • Implement the action choice: In this last stage, the individual implements the choice that he or she made during the previous step.

These are the different stages of the cognitive or behavioral process that an individual can go through.

The Conclusion
Social psychology is an important branch of psychology. And the bystander effect is an important social psychological phenomenon. Bystander effect can be defined as the phenomenon in which an individual might be less willing to help someone in need if there are other people around. There are a number of factors which can have an effect on the bystander effect. And those factors are pluralistic ignorance, diffusion of responsibility, and social inhibition. There are also a number of variables which can have an effect on the bystander effect.

The References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/bystander-effect

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-bystander-effect-2795899

https://psychology.iresearchnet.com/social-psychology/prosocial-behavior/bystander-effect/

https://www.britannica.com/topic/bystander-effect

http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199828340/obo-9780199828340-0172.xml

https://psychcentral.com/encyclopedia/bystander-effect/

https://digest.bps.org.uk/2016/06/29/the-bystander-effect-is-about-more-than-the-diffusion-of-responsibility/

https://www.psywww.com/intropsych/ch15-social/bystander-apathy.html

https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wmopen-psychology/chapter/the-bystander-effect-and-altruism/

https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Bystander_effect

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_psychology