Over the past week or two, the lectures and readings have focused on the interplay between groups and individuals—how groups influence individuals and vice versa— as well as intergroup dynamics. So, for example, we've covered obedience and conformity, social loafing and social facilitation, group polarization and groupthink, deindividuation and prejudice. All of these things involve that interplay. But one important area that we haven't examined yet is bystander intervention in emergency situations—for instance, the question of whether bystanders are more likely or less likely to intervene when other bystanders are present (an important form of social influence). This is a research question whose origin dates back to a tragedy that took place on March 13, 1964. At 3:20 in the morning that day, near the Kew Gardens railroad station in New York, Kitty Genovese, a 28-year-old bar manager, returned home from work. After parking her car, she started to walk toward her apartment, which was about a hundred feet away, and then suddenly, she noticed a man on the other side of the parking lot. She started to run, but the man, 29-year-old Winston Moseley, caught up to her, and under a streetlight, stabbed her multiple times in the back. She screamed, lights went on in the ten-story apartment building across the street, windows slid open, and Kitty Genovese cried out, "Oh, my God! He stabbed me! Please help me! Please help me!" A man in one of the apartments called down, "Let that girl alone!" And Winston ran off, leaving her there, bleeding. The apartment lights went out. Kitty eventually got back on her feet, and she walked slowly and unsteadily toward the entrance of her apartment, which was in the back of the building, but eventually, she fell over near the foot of some stairs in a lobby area. Then, about 10 minutes later, Winston returned, sexually assaulted Kitty, and when she tried to resist, he kept her quiet by stabbing her in the throat, fatally. Now, let me add an epilogue. When the murder first occurred, its coverage in the New York Times was only five sentences buried on page 26. Two weeks after the murder, though, the story appeared in a large front page article with a big diagram and a huge story continued on a second page. Why? Because according to the article, a police investigation concluded that dozens of "respectable" law-abiding citizens had witnessed the killing, but not one person telephoned the police during the assault. Later investigations, including a 2007 American Psychologist article, have challenged the accuracy of this account. But at the time, the murder of Kitty Genovese rocked the United States, and it led two social psychologists, Bibb Latané and John Darley, to conduct a pioneering set of experiments on bystander intervention in emergency situations. What this research found is that people are often less likely to intervene when other bystanders are present. For an overview and a real-life example that took place more than 30 years after the death of Kitty Genovese, let's watch a 13-minute segment that Dateline NBC was kind enough to share with our class. >> From Studio 3B and Rockefeller Center, here is Jane Paulley. >> Good evening. If you saw a brutal crime being committed on a crowded street, what would you do? Rush to help? Wait for someone else to make the first move? Thankfully, most of us will never have to face such a terrifying test, but unfortunately, many who have, have failed. Here's Dennis Murphy. >> She hit this guy's car, just a fender bender, and he started, went to his truck and got a crowbar and started beating her car and beating her car. >> It happened to Dortha Word's daughter, Deletha, at 2:00 in the morning on a weekend last August. She was headed home after a summer night spin through Belle Isle, Detroit's popular island park, when she sideswiped a car and didn't stop. Moments later, she got stuck in traffic coming across the bridge that connects Bell Isle with Detroit. The man whose car she hit caught up with her. >> He started beating her and telling her look what she did to his car. >> The young man, a 6' 4", 270-pound former high school football player, was in a rage. According to police accounts, he pulled Deletha from her car, stripped her nearly naked, and began beating her savagely on this bridge. Deletha, not 5 feet tall, escaped her attacker twice, and twice he caught her. She broke away once more and climbed over the side of the bridge clinging to the railing for her life, but when her attacker came at her again, this time swinging a car jack, Deletha let go, falling 30 feet into the Detroit River. >> She couldn't swim, no. >> Two men drove up after Deletha jumped and dove into the water to try to save her. >> We've got a female in the water that hasn't come up yet. >> She disappeared under the swift current. Her body was found the next morning. And what grieves and angers Dortha Word, even as much as her daughter's death, is that dozens of people stood by and watched as the attack went on for 25 minutes, and no one tried to help, or even to call police until Deletha was in the river. Some of the bystanders had cell phones, and there was a police station just at the end of the bridge. >> The reason we know, Ms. Word, what happened on that bridge, because there were people there watching, weren't there? >> Yes. >> People saw every bit of it. >> Yes. >> Cars were stopped. People got out of their cars. >> Yes. I can't believe it. >> It's something I have to live with for the rest of my life. >> Harvey Mayberry was one of the dozens of bystanders that terrible night on the Belle Isle Bridge. >> What was going on? >> He body-slammed her to the concrete, he choked her, he hit her. You name it, he practically did it. >> Mayberry and the others watched as the attacker held Deletha out to the crowd and asked if any of them wanted a piece of her. >> Did you feel like you were watching a movie, maybe? >> A horror one. >> That crowd would become notorious nationwide as "the bystanders"— the incomprehensible bystanders, who watched and did nothing as a young woman suffered a horrific death. >> How could you just stand by, idly by, and watch somebody beat somebody like this and beat 'em, and you don't do anything? You don't even try to stop them? I mean, 35 or 40 peoples could've rushed him. They didn't even try to do that. >> I will never forget that night. I mean, and I'm always wondering what if, if I'd have done this, if I'd have done that— >> But he did nothing, and neither did bystanders in a frightening litany of recent incidents. In Washington, D.C., four construction workers watched as a woman was mugged. In Los Angeles, 30 bus passengers just sat in their seats as their driver was beaten senseless. And in Virginia, six people stood by as a store clerk was badly beaten and left bleeding in a corner. No one even called police. When you hear tragic stories like Deletha Word's and countless others like it, you might ask yourself: how could those people be so inhuman? And you might say to yourself: well, if I'd been there, surely I would have stepped in and done something. But would you? University researchers have been asking exactly that question now for decades, and what they found out about bystanders, like those people on the bridge, could cause you to disregard forever that old adage: there's safety in numbers. >> There's trouble in numbers. People tend to freeze each other and cause each other not to respond. >> Princeton psychology professor John Darley was inspired to run a series of experiments on bystanders by something that happened nearly 30 years ago: another notorious case of inaction— the murder of a young New York woman, Kitty Genovese. Genovese screamed for help repeatedly during the 35-minute stabbing, but no help came, even though more than three dozen neighbors heard her cries from their apartments. The public was horrified, but Professor Darley says they shouldn't have been surprised. >> We see these incidents on television, John, and we say we're not that spineless person. >> You're exactly right. That's what we say. We mustn't keep coming to that conclusion. We have to think about the uncomfortable fact, the uncomfortable truth, that I might not help. >> Darley says there is something else, something more than fear of getting hurt or involved that governs our responses. >> There's inaction in numbers. The more people who hear or see someone in trouble, the less likely that any individual will help. >> The person who crumbles to the sidewalk with a heart attack, are they better off having one person there, or three or four people seeing them? >> I'm afraid they're better off having one person there, because if one person is there, that one person knows if this person is going to get help, it has to come from me. This is all pretty standard stuff. >> To demonstrate his findings that people react differently in groups than alone, Dr. Darley and his colleague Jeff Stone put some students to the bystander test. They were brought in to a video lab room under the guise of watching a tape and commenting on it. They'd be paid $10 for evaluating the tape. >> So, that's sort of how this whole thing's set up. >> As the students arrived, they were walked past a man posing as a maintenance worker. Five minutes into the videotape, the students would hear what seemed to be the man falling from his ladder and moaning out of view around the corner. Our hidden cameras watch to see how they'd respond. At first, there's just one test subject behind our one-way mirror. >> Whoa! [SOUND OF CRASH]. >> I heard this sort of cry or a groan, and I decided it was definitely something that needed to be investigated. >> Very common single person reaction. >> Single person reaction. Nobody else: I, I gotta move. >> Another student, another crash. The student has to evaluate what he's hearing and decide to help or not. >> Notice the poker face. Isn't that marvelous? He's helping me. He turned off the tape so he can go back and start the tape where it was while he's helping. >> What made you decide to act, to intervene? >> The fact that I was the only one there, I had to do something. >> [CRASH] Uhh! >> Again and again in his research, Darley found that the overwhelming majority of people, when alone, help. >> Are you okay? He didn't answer when I asked him if he was okay. So, I ran out, and at that point I was really scared. I thought about what I'd do, and I thought I'd scream "911!" >> But adding passive bystanders to the mix drastically altered the results. Watch what happens when Dr. Darley plants two people in the room, people who have been instructed not to react when they hear the crash. >> I thought, man, no matter how many people are in here, somebody's got to get up and go and check. >> The two men instructed not to react are on the left and right of the picture. So what happens to the man in the middle? >> Whoa! [CRASH] Uhh! >> As instructed, the confederates look up, then go back to watching the videotape. The subject glances around, then goes back to his work, as the moans continue for 14 seconds. >> Emmanuel, did your brain tell you, here's a guy in trouble? >> Yes. >> But you didn't get up. >> No, I didn't get up. >> Why didn't you intervene, do you think? >> Because of the two people on my sides. They did not react at all, so I figured they must know something that I don't know. >> The group dynamic kicked in, even though there was no danger if a person answered the call for help. Time after time, the subject sat frozen when flanked by others who did not react. >> To go against the group is to say, "All of you are wrong, and I am right," and that's a hard thing for people to do. >> Watch his reaction. He seems to look to the others to help in evaluate what's going on. He doesn't budge. >> Now I know that I would be one of those people who you watch disgustedly on the news and say, "Why didn't he do anything?" Thinking about it afterward kind of makes you feel like a sheep. You just feel like you're controlled by what other people do, and you don't really too have much control over what you think or what you do. >> And that, according to Darley, is exactly what happens in most cases. People take their cues from those around them to decide how to act. If they're surrounded by poker faces, they are more likely not to respond. >> What makes some of us heroes and some of us sheep? >> More than we would like to think, coincidence, I'm afraid. If many other people are not acting, if my confusion, my puzzlement, overwhelm me, then I am less likely to act. Within me, there's the hero. Within me, there's the non-responding bystander. >> Let go! Let go! Let go! >> Also in play is a natural response psychologist call "diffusion of responsibility." We tell ourselves that someone else will probably help, will probably handle it better then we would, and not the least of it is the fear of making a fool of ourselves. >> We're stepping on stage, not knowing our lines. We may embarrass ourselves, and we are intruding in a situation in which we may embarrass the people we intrude in. >> Are you okay? >> Dr. Darley says people alone help 80% of the time, but people in groups, only 20% of the time, which means only about one in five of us would react as David Brown did, as he breaks the force field of the strangers around him. >> Whoa! [CRASH] >> The crash. The two confederates notice. You can't help but notice. He hears it, looks, and it's almost as if he's looking at a wall. And he was clearly coping with: they're not acting. They're telling me there's no trouble here, and dealing with that. >> Sometimes what everybody else is doing is not necessarily the right thing, so, you have to just kind of ignore it and do whatever you think is right. >> Good advice, but a highly unusual reaction— dead opposite of what most of us do when we're just another face in the crowd. So, what should we do if we get in trouble? If we find ourselves the victim, if we are the person on the sidewalk with a heart attack, and we see the people out there who might help but their faces are just frozen like pottery, what do we do? >> Let's make clear that there's no ambiguity about what's happening. I'm saying: I'm the victim. I really need help. Everybody, I really need help, and you, Mister, you—I'm looking you in the eyes. Will you please do, whatever? >> Pick a face out of the crowd? >> Pick a face out of the crowd. That person knows the responsibility rests with him, with her. >> Dr. Darley says that just one person stepping forward in a crowd can transform the group from passive to active. >> The thing that haunts us, I suspect, is that might have happened on the Detroit Bridge. >> It is a question that haunts Harvey Mayberry every day. >> For the rest of my life, I'm going to have to deal with that. If I had done this, then maybe she still be here. >> But it took one person to step forward, still, and nobody did. >> Nobody did. But I honestly believe if one person had stepped forward, I know I would have. But I, to be the first one, no. >> We could all find ourselves on that bridge, and we could all find ourselves not responding. But if we understand why that might be so, we are more likely to be free to respond. The best available evidence suggests that Professor Darley is right. When people learn about the bystander effect, they become more likely to intervene in emergencies. I should also add that Latané and Darley studied bystander intervention in a wide variety of situations beyond those in which someone seemed to be injured. For example, in one study they invited students in for an interview on life at an urban university, and while students sat in the waiting room, a stream of white smoke began to pour into the room through a vent in the wall. At first the smoke was barely noticeable, but after awhile, it was unmistakable, and the question was whether students would be less likely to report the smoke in the presence of other bystanders than when they waited alone. Here's what Latané and Darley found. When students waited alone, three quarters of them reported the smoke, and half of them reported it within two minutes. It was a very quick response. But in another experimental condition, in which students sat in the waiting room with two confederates who were instructed to remain passive (just sitting there like human furniture), only 1 student out of 10 ever reported the smoke. What did they do? They coughed. They rubbed their eyes. They opened the window. But they didn't report the smoke. One other noteworthy finding is that after the experiment, students who hadn't reported the smoke gave an incredible variety of explanations. For example, some people said that they thought that the smoke was actually steam or a vapor coming from an air conditioner. I've never seen an air conditioner do that, but that was an explanation that was offered. Others thought that it was smog purposely introduced to simulate an urban environment. And still others thought that the smoke was a truth gas piped in by the experimenters! What's interesting here is that people's perception of the situation as an emergency— that is, their perception of the smoke as potentially dangerous— was altered by the number of bystanders present, and yet oftentimes students weren't aware of being influenced. This is similar in some ways to research on obedience to authority in which people obey an authority but don't realize the power of the authority. Or research on cognitive dissonance, in which people change their perception of a situation to say it's not really that bad without realizing that they've redefined their circumstances. Have the results on bystander intervention stood the test of time since Latané and Darley published their results? With a few specific exceptions, the answer's yes. Dozens of researchers have now replicated the bystander effect. In fact, in 2011 Peter Fischer and an international team of eight other researchers published a huge meta-analysis of more than 100 independent assessments of the bystander effect, ranging from the 1960s all the way through 2010 based on data for more than 7,700 participants. According to the report, the results showed "clear support... that passive bystanders in critical situations reduce helping responses." Does the bystander effect occur around the world? It's hard to say. The effect is very well documented in North America and Europe, but it hasn't really been studied enough in other countries to know how universal or prevalent it is. What we do know anecdotally is that many countries do report cases from time to time in which bystanders fail to intervene in emergencies. For example, on October 13, 2011, a van ran over a 2-year-old girl in a Chinese market, and at least 17 people walked past the crushed girl over a period of seven minutes. The girl later died. On April 14, 2013, a man in India cried for help after a speeding truck killed his wife and infant, who lay in a pool of blood, but no one stopped to help for roughly ten minutes. On July 9, 2012, a teenage girl in Guwahati, India, was sexually molested for 30 minutes by approximately 20 men on a busy street, and no one ever intervened or called the police. And of course, you're welcome to use the discussion forum to post and discuss additional examples of bystander intervention or lack of intervention. But now, let's pause for a pop-up question before I make a few concluding remarks. Now of course, overall percentages don't tell us anything about the type of people most likely to intervene, and you might be wondering whether Latané and Darley found, for example, that certain personality characteristics were associated with helping people in an emergency. Latané and Darley did investigate the role of personality, but they didn't find anything substantial. Here's what they wrote: "Anybody can be led either to help or not to help in a specific situation. Characteristics of the immediate situation may have a more important influence on what the bystander does than [the individual's] personality or life history. These findings further suggest that motivational deficiencies may not account for the unresponsive bystander." What they're saying is that it's a mistake to think of nonintervention as bystander "apathy"—as a lack of motivation, or a lack of caring. In fact, many people want to do good, but that desire is overridden by situational factors like how many other bystanders happen to be present, or whether an emergency is clear or not. Now, more recent research has found some links between bystander intervention and personality characteristics, even though the situational factors remain strong. For example, people who score high in masculinity—whether they're male or female—are less likely to help in emergency situations, apparently, because they fear looking foolish or being embarrassed if they do something wrong, or it turns out that their help wasn't needed after all. On the other hand, femininity doesn't seem to be significantly related to bystander intervention one way or the other. And research on sex differences shows mixed results, with some studies finding no sex differences, but others finding that men are more likely to help women or help in dangerous situations, and women are more likely than men to help children. Well, this video has grown long with research findings, so let me conclude on a personal note. As it turns out, Kitty Genovese, her parents, and several members of the Genovese family are buried in a cemetery only an hour from Wesleyan University, so I recently visited and took a photo for the class. The next time that you see something that might be an emergency, and you're not sure whether to call someone for help, here's an image to keep in mind. If everyone in the class remembers this image, we have a good chance, collectively, of preventing at least a few tragedies like Kitty's. And that would be a great way to honor the memory of Kitty Genovese, Deletha Word, and others who could have been saved if it weren't for the bystander effect.