Monday, October 15, 2007

The Bystander Effect

Figure 9. The Bystander Effect (Gilovich, Keltner & Nisbett, 2006, pp. 536)

The Bystander Effect Appendix H


1. Theory
I have included four theories, which I have chosen based on the relevant research from a range of different sources. The theories I have chosen I feel best represents the spread of models and are the models that best represent the topic within the strict word limit. Other theories, for example the Social-exchange theory and conflict-decision model do exist, however I could not include them all.

It became evident early on in my research there were a few prominent people in the exploration of the bystander effect, for example Darley and Latané, thus I was able to specifically follow their research. This enabled me to cover a number of angles on the bystander effect. Unfortunately I was not able to add each element of the topic due to word restrictions, but also relevance to the topic.

I have understood the concepts and theories behind the bystander effect and I feel this is evident in my own personal experiences of the bystander effect. I was able to analyse my own thought processes and the actions in relation to Darley and Latané’s multistage model. I was also able to recognise the operation of the bystander effect in my other family members. I then effectively reduced the bystander effect by accepting personal responsibility, giving verbal encouragement to other members of my family to accept responsibility and by ultimately acting by reporting an incident to the police.

2. Research
For my blog I have used a wide range of resources, both primary and secondary sources. Around half my sources come from the last 7 years, this allows my blog to be relevant to modern society. Many of my other sources, such the studies by Latané and Darley, were published just after Kitty’s murder, initially investigating the bystander effect. These studies are valuable as they are the prominent research base of the bystander effect and offer a variety of perspectives, for example in the instance where someone can only hear another who needs help. However, a large gap exists in relation to the research. There is little information on the actual use of the research on the bystander effect. As Latané and Nida (1981) noted in their meta-analysis of the bystander literature, although we have a large body of well-established knowledge, we are no nearer to using this knowledge to ensure that future victims are more likely to receive help.’

Therefore, it was difficult to come up with possible solutions to reduce the bystander effect and I soon found the possible solutions I did find, or came up with applied to not only victims, but also to other bystanders and to society as a whole. However, there is one major flaw with the possible solutions directed at victims, is that if you are unconscious or severely injured you will be unable to state you need help and what help you do need.

Additionally, I found it difficult to find recent articles on the bystander effect. This was not because I simply did not look; I searched through numerous books and also on online journals. I even tried searching the internet for contemporary information; however this did not yield much that was valid. The best information I have found was from dated papers.

3. Written Expression
The readability of this blog has improved since blog 1. This is evident through the readability analysis of my second blog. On each of the scales, I scored better than on blog 1. These results are still far from perfect, but evidently improving.

On the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 28 (last blog 21)
Ideally, web page text should be around the 60 to 80 mark on this scale. The higher the score, the more readable the text.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 14 (last blog 16)
Ideally, web page text should be around the 6 to 7 mark on this scale. The lower the score, the more readable the text.

Gunning-Fog Index: 23 last blog (last blog 24)
Ideally, web page text should be between 11 and 15 on this scale. The lower the score, the more readable the text. (Anything over 22 should be considered the equivalent of post-graduate level text).

To increase the readability of my blog and to ensure my ideas were not confusing, I asked two people to proof read it. This ensures that people who are studying psychology and also people who are not knowledgeable in the area of psychology can still gain meaning from my blog.
I have used; headings, graphs, smaller paragraphs and have included an abstract to increase my written expression. Additionally, I have used several appendices and also links to multimedia and images, to cater for people who learn through different mediums. I think this is important as some people prefer to watch a multimedia clip, or look at a cartoon rather than reading a large article of work. The representation of ideas through different mediums is particularly important with regards to the bystander effect, as we want to educate as many people as possible. Thus, pure text would not entice everyone to learn about the effect. Furthermore, in my appendices I have included definitions that help with the readability of my blog, sometimes people can become lost through the excessive use of psychological terms.

My APA style I think is relatively accurate. I have read and reread my blog so many times, but there is still a chance that I could have missed a small error. The use of a blog makes it hard to do perfect APA style referencing, for example the ‘References’ are suppose to be indented. However, Blogspot does not allow the ‘tab’ option to work.

Word Count: 1,500.

4. Online engagement
My online engagement I feel has highly improved from my last blog. My postings on my blog have increased and also my blogs on other people’s pages has also increased. I feel three factors resulted in my increased contributions. Firstly, I became more comfortable with this mode of communication and assessment. Secondly, people have become more involved and therefore there is a wider range of topics being represented on people’s blogs, especially because everyone now has a different topic. Lastly, as everyone has selected a different topic I was not reluctant to put my ideas and research on my blog early (actually I think I was first).

My online engagement would have been better if I had emailed discussion points to the unit as a whole, however as far as commenting on other people’s blogs and publishing posts and comments on my page, I think my engagement was good. This was evident in that I received two stars during the first two weeks after the first blog was submitted. On my blog page I also created a poll to encourage involvement from other students. My second blog was also uploaded early to allow people to comment and add suggestions. I was able to act on these suggestions to increase the readability and lay out of my blog.

However, in saying this I did not write my draft straight onto a blog. But this was not without reason. I found that by typing my essay straight onto a blog, I could easily misspell words and not even realise. This would affect my written expression component, and hence I chose to write my blog into a word document first, and then paste it onto my blog. By uploading my blog early it enabled people to comment, and hence I was still able to reach the communication component.

List of contributions:
On other people’s pages
1. on Luke Muller’s Page in relation to his social-self on Emma’s Page in relation to Aboriginal Stereotypes in Australia
2. on Mrs Freud’s Page in relation to the Short Rwanda Video
3. on Beck’s Psych Blog in relation to ‘Can you hear me?’
4. on Josie’s Social Psych Blog in relation to ‘Weekly Quote’
5. on Luke Muller’s Page in relation to ‘Internet Chatroom Parody’
6. on Fi’s Social Psych Page in relation to ‘City to soil project’
7. on Graham’s Blog in relation to ‘Suicide definition’
8. on Zoe’s Social Psych Blog in relation to ‘Witnessing bystander effect’
9. on Mike’s Blog in relation to Week 10 Discussion
10. On Zoe’s Social Psych Blog in relation to the Bystander Effect
11. on Beck’s Page in relation to the Dove Beauty Video
12. on Karen’s Page in relations to the Bystander Effect
13. on Rach’s Page in response to her comment on the Bystander Effect
14. on Jess’s Page in relation to Eccentricity
15. on Amanda’s Page in relation to the Citizens Test

My blog

Friday, October 12, 2007

Reply to Amanda

Amanda raised a good point in relation to an awareness booklet on the Bystander effect. There is a possibility that the booklet will be thrown out with the junk mail or it will not be read. I feel that with any campaign there is a risk that it will not reach the intended audience. For example, with a television campaign, not all people watch tv, or some may watch pay tv, therefore a section of the intended audience is not reached. I have suggested a booklet and also television campaign to combat this problem and will hopefully reach as many people as possible.

Education within schools is definately a must. By educating children we educate the future. But this does not mean we should forget about the current adults, as they also play an important role in society. Research has indicated that by simply knowing about the bystander effect, people become more likely to be aware of the effect and thus intervene. I hope my blog will educate those who read it, and hopefully this issue will become more known.

Thankyou to those who have commented on my blog, voted on my poll and read the blog. I enjoy hearing feedback from everyone, especially on your own experiences of the bystander effect.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Bystander Effect Appendix G

Costs and Benefits of Helping

Figure 8. Some costs and benefits of helping (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008, pp. 282)

The Bystander Effect Appendix F

Darley and Latané’s multi-stage model

Figure 7. Five Steps to helping and the obstacles encountered at each step(Baumeister & Bushman, 2008, pp. 269).

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Bystander Effect Appendix D

The likelihood of bystander intervention decreases when people are in a hurry.

Figure 2. People are more likely to help when they are not in a hurry (Gilovich, Keltner & Nisbett, 2006).

The Bystander Effect Appendix E

Experiments Demonstrating The Bystander Effect

Numerous studies have been conducted to demonstrate the Bystander Effect. These are results from a few of these studies...

Figure 3.
The Effects of group size on helping (Fiske, 2004, pp. 320).

Figure 4 demonstrates the findings of four studies conducted by Latané and Darley.

The Smoke Filled Room-
The subjects were placed in a room alone or in groups of three with other subjects or confederates. They were then asked to fill out some preliminary questions. Soon smoke was pumped into the room through an air vent. Students who were alone reported the smoke 75% of the time, 38% of the students in groups of three acted and only 10% when the subjects were in the presence of two confederates who appeared oblivious to the smoke.

Injured Woman-
The subjects were placed in a room to fill out a survey. During this time they heard a chair fall over and a woman's scream accompanied by claims of being hurt, moaning and crying. Subjects were either placed alone, with a passive confederate, with another subject they did not know or with another subject who they were friends with. 70% of all subjects offered to help. However only 7% of the subjects in the passive confederate condition intervened.

Money Theft (Hand in the till)-
Whilst awaiting an interview, male graduates were witness to a theft (actually a confederate), in one condition the subject was the sole witness and in another, two subjects were present. The 'thief' took money from an envelope on the receptionist's desk, placed it in his pocket and sat back down, when the receptionist left the room. Despite the obviousness of the crime, many subjects claimed they had not noticed the crime. 52% of the subjects who were in the alone condition claimed they had not noticed the theft, while 25% of the Together pairs said that had not noticed.

Beer Robbery-
The robbers (confederates) either in a pair or singly entered the store and whilst the cashier is out back, they walk out the door with a case of beer. This is conducted when either one or two people are in the store and at least one of them at the counter. On the cashier's return, the number of bystanders who; spontaneously mentioned the robbers (20%), reported the crime after prompting from the cashier (51%) and did not report it at all were measured.

Figure 4. Percentages of Single Subjects or Group Helping (Latané & Darley, 1970, pp. 88).

Figure 5 further demonstrates the results of the Smoke Filled Room Experiment.

Figure 5. The Smoke Filled Room Experiment (Myers, 2007, pp. 368).

Figure 6 depicts the bystander effect in relationship to violent theft. Evidently, this is an issue due to the failure for people to act.

Figure 6. Bystander reactions to violent theft (Schwartz & Gottlieb, 1976).

The Bystander Effect Reference List

Baumeister, R. F. & Bushman, B. J. (2008). Social Psychology and human nature (1st ed.) Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Bearman, A. L., Barnes, P. J., & Klentz, B. (1978). Increasing helping rates through information dissemination: Teaching pays. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 4, 406-41.

Bickman, L. & Rosen, D. P. (1977). Crime reporting as a function of bystander encouragement, surveillance and credibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 8, 577-586.

Brown, S. (2000). 500 tips on group learning. London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Bryan, J. H., & Test, M. A. (1967). Models and helping: Naturalistic studies in aiding behaviour. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 6, 400-401.

Canada’s Safety Council. (2004). Don’t just stand there- do something. Canada’s Safety Council: Canada’s voice and resource for safety. Retrieved September 26, 2007, from

Cialdini, R. (1993). Influence: The psychology of persuasion. New York: William Morrow.

Cohen, S. (2001). States of denial: Knowing about atrocities and suffering. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Darley, J. M., & Batson, C. D. (1973). From Jerusalem to Jericho: A study of situational and dispositional variables in helping behaviour. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 27, 100-119.

Darley, J. M, & Latané, B. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 377-383.

Dovido, J. F. (1984). Helping behaviour and altruism: An empirical and conceptual overview. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.) Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 361-427). New York: Academic Press.

Fiske, T. S. (2004). Social beings: A core motives approach to social psychology. United States of America: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Gilovich, T., Keltner, D., & Nisbett, E. R. (2006). Social Psychology. United States of America: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Hearold, S. (1986). A synthesis of 1043 effects of television on social behaviour. In G. Comstock (Ed.), Public communication and behaviour (pp. 65-133). New York: Academic Press.

Isom, M. D. The social learning theory. (1998, November 30). Retrieved August 9, 2007, from

Kenrick, D. T., Neuberg, S. L., & Cialdini, R. B. (2005). Social psychology: Unravelling the mystery (3rd Ed.). United States of America: Pearson Education.

Latané, B., & Darley, J. M. (1968). Group inhibition of bystander intervention. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 10, 215-221.

Latané, B., & Darley, J. M. (1970). The unresponsive bystander: Why doesn’t he help? New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Levine, M., & Thompson, K. (2004). Identity, place, and bystander intervention: Social categories and helping after natural disasters. Journal of Social Psychology, 144, 3, 229-245.

Moriarty, T. (1975). Crime, commitment, and the responsive bystander: Two field experiments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 2, 370-376.

Myers, D. G. (2007). Exploring social psychology (4th ed.). New York, United States of America: McGraw-Hill.

Neighbourhood watch. (2007). Retrieved October 1, 2007, from the State of Queensland (Queensland Police Service) 2002-2007 web site:

Neighbourhood Watch grants 2007/2008. (2007). Retrieved October 1, 2007, from the Neighbourhood Watch web site:

Piliavin, J. A., Dovidio, J. F., Gaetner, S. L., & Clark, R. D. III (1981). Emergency Intervention. New York: Academic Press.

Scott, S. L. (2002). The death of James Bulger. Retrieved September 20, 2007 from, the Crime Library web site:

Schwartz, S. H., & Gottlieb, A. (1976). Bystander reactions to a violent theft: crime in Jerusalem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 6, 1188-1199.

Shotland, R. L., & Straw, M. (1976). Bystanders response to an assault: When a man attacks a women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 990-999.

Silk, C. (2005). Why did Kitty Genovese die? Retrieved September 18, 2007, from The Atlas Society web site:

Smith, E. R., & Mackie, D. M. (2007). Social psychology (3rd ed.). New York: Psychology Press.

Vaughan, G. M., & Hogg, M. A. (2002). Introduction to social psychology (3rd ed.). New South Wales, Australia: Pearson Education Pty Ltd.

Westen, D., Burton, L., & Kowalski, R. (2006). Psychology. Australia: John Wiley & Sons.

Young, S. B., & Baranski, J. V. (2003). Research in moral and ethical judgement: a methodological review. Retrieved September 18, 2007, from

The Bystander Effect Appendix C

Neighbourhood Watch

Neighbourhood Watch is a community based program created with the aim to reduce residential crime. The program encourages interaction between members of society and creates a sense of responsibility between neighbours and immunities (Neighbourhood watch, 2007).

The programs objectives are to:
· Minimise the incidence of preventable crime.
· Deter criminal activity by increasing the probability of apprehension.
· Reduce the fear of crime.
· Increase the reporting of crime and suspicious behaviour.
· Improve the degree of personal and household security through education.
· Expand the program's involvement in wider community safety and crime prevention initiatives. (Neighbourhood Watch grants 2007/2008, 2007).

This program is particularly important in the prevention of the bystander effect as it encourages people to adopt a sense of personal responsibility and also encourages the reporting of criminal or suspicious activity to the police.

The Bystander Effect Appendix B

This is an example of the information that needs to be contained in a booklet, administered to households. It is based on the combination of models and the studies conducted, and also offers specific advice to the Government.

Victim’s Guide to Receiving Help
· Make it very clear that help is needed- don’t expect people to come to this conclusion on their own, as they may not (Canada’s Safety Council, 2004).
· If you are involved in a dispute between a man and a women, the victim must identify that it is not a domestic dispute (Shotland & Straw, 1976).
· Identify someone directly and specifically ask them for help.
· Do not chose a person who looks in a hurry, people in a hurry are less likely to help you (Darley & Batson, 1973)

Bystander’s guide to getting others to act
· Verbally acknowledge the situation, thus reducing any ambiguity for others
· Give verbal encouragements that make other bystanders feel personal responsibility to act, such as ‘it is our responsibility to report this’ (Bickman & Rosen, 1977).
· Act as an altruistic model and intervene in an emergency situation, this defines help as the appropriate response. For example reporting a robbery.

Community and Government Actions
· Increase training in first aid, people who feel competent are more likely to help
· Increase Neighbourhood Watch awareness
· Encourage people that by numerous people coming forward, a greater picture of a crime is created, thus the perpetrators are more likely to be caught.
· Creating altruistic models for young children and encouraging them that intervention (calling 000) in an emergency situation is the correct action.
· Creating/enforcing ‘Good Samaritan’ laws to protect those that do help

The Bystander Effect Appendix A


empathetic concern- response to another person in which the bystander feels compassion

personal distress- experience of anxiety when someone else is upset

pluralistic ignorance- looking to others for cues about how to behave, while they are looking at you; collectively misinterpretation (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008, pp. 270)

The Bystander Effect: Foundations and Solutions

Local government is alarmed by a recent increase in muggings and robberies in the community, often performed in the presence of others (bystanders). As an expert in the area of pro-social behaviour, you have been asked to come up with strategies that will make people more likely to lend assistance in these types of situations. Using at least two relevant theories/models, outline the strategy you would recommend to the government.

The bystander effect occurs regularly within society and allows the occurrence of robberies, muggings and even so far as murders. This bystander effect has become a topic of interest with psychologists. Many models and theories have been created to understand the processes behind this effect. The bystander effect needs to be counteracted to improve the safety and increase help administered to victims within our community. To increase bystander intervention a victim can; ensure someone notices you, decrease the ambiguity of a situation by stating you need help, specifically identify a person to help and describe the help you need. Furthermore governments can increase bystander intervention by creating altruistic models, educating society on the effect and also on what steps to take in an emergency.

Figure 1. The Bystander Effect: Increasing Intervention.

The brutal murder of Kitty Genovese (1968) while 38 people looked on was a major stimulus for social-psychological research into the failure of people to act (Schwartz & Gottlieb, 1976). This “hesitancy to help strangers in an emergency, believing that ‘someone else’ will do something or that we are not suitability qualified to offer the right kind of help” became known as the bystander effect (Brown, 2000, pp. 44). The bystander effect also extends to situations of robberies and muggings.

Several models exist to explain this phenomenon, for example Darley and Latané’s multi-stage model, the social-learning theory and the bystander-calculus model. These models and theories identify two factors which are important in the influence of intervention; the presence of others and emotionality. They are also important in creating recommendations which will increase the likelihood of bystander intervention (Levine & Thompson, 2004).

Darley and Latané multi-stage model of decision-making

This model involves five steps and a person must proceed through each step in order for a bystander to intervene (Darley & Latané, 1968) (see Appendix F).

1- Does the bystander notice an event?
The bystander must first notice the event. Without this vital stage, no help will be administered. The smoke-filled room experiment by Latané and Darley (1968) demonstrates that individuals noticed the smoke before individuals in a group situation. In this study, solitary students often glanced around the room and noticed the smoke in less than five seconds. Those in groups kept their eyes on their work, and took typically 20 seconds (Myers, 2007). Furthermore in the ‘hand in the till’ experiment by Latané and Darley, 52% of the subjects in the alone condition claimed to not have noticed the theft (Latané & Darley, 1970). In order to receive help, you must ensure that people notice the event.

2- How is the event interpreted?
The bystander must then interpret the event as in need of intervention. As stated by Cialdini (1993), often an emergency is not obviously an emergency. A man lying in an alley could be a heart attack victim or a drunk. The ambiguity of a situation causes people to search for social cues. This underlies the theory of social proof where people ‘often take their cues from others when deciding what to think or how to behave in a given situation, especially when they are unsure about what to think or do’ (Silk, 2005). However, one significant complication is that people, not wanting to look foolish, appear ‘poised and unflustered when we are with others’ (Cialdini, 1993). This leads to pluralistic ignorance and thus everyone fails to act. To prevent the need for social proof, a victim should state they need help and what help they require (Silk, 2005). By instructing people, a situation becomes unambiguous and thus victims are more likely to receive assistance.

Often arguments between a male and a female are interpreted as domestic disputes, and thus people do not intervene. These effects were demonstrated in a study which staged a fight between a man and a woman. Seventy percent of the participants interpreted this as a domestic argument and only 4% felt the two were complete strangers (Kenrick, Neuberg & Cialdini, 2005). These findings can assist us in altering situations to increase the likelihood of bystanders intervening, such as by shouting ‘I don’t know you’ and ‘I need help.’ These statements decrease the ambiguity of the situation, destroy the image of a domestic dispute and hence increase the chances of bystander intervention.

3- Does the bystander accept personal responsibility for helping?
Next, the bystander must accept personal reasonability for helping. In the case of Kitty, the bystanders had interpreted the event clearly, however failed to accept personal responsibility (Vaughan & Hogg, 2002). The simple presence of others, which leads to an effect where ‘each person is less likely to help’ is labelled diffusion of responsibility and is a major component of the bystander effect (Cohen, 2001, pp. 143).

Darley and Latané found that a second bystander to an event reduced the probability that help would be offered from around 70% to 60%. Furthermore, when three or four bystanders were present this figure dropped to about 40% or 30% (Young & Baranski, 2003) (see Appendix E). Therefore, to prevent diffusion of responsibility a victim needs to specially identify someone to help. Additionally, research suggests that people who are not in a hurry and those who feel similar to you are more inclined to help and therefore would be the best individuals to seek out for help (Gilovich, Keltner & Nisbett, 2006; Dovidio, 1984) (see Appendix D). To increase bystander intervention children should be taught not to distinguish people based on their group membership, especially when people require help.

4 & 5- What does the bystander decide to do and is help given?
The fourth and fifth steps in this model are dependent upon successfully proceeding through the first three steps. During the fourth step bystanders; calculate the possible outcomes, determine if they have the knowledge to help and decide whether to help (Vaughan & Hogg, 2002). To increase bystander intervention, the victim should direct a specific individual to help them and tell them exactly how to help, for example calling 000. This also reduces audience inhibition where people fail ‘to help in front of others for fear of feeling like a fool is one’s offer of help is rejected’ (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008, pp. 281). Furthermore by educating people on how to act in emergency situations reduces the concern that they are inadequate to help (Bearman, Barnes & Klentz, 1978). By decreasing the ambiguity of a situation, creating personal responsibility and asking for specific actions, a victim can increase the chance of bystander intervention.

Bystander-calculus model

The bystander-calculus model is a combination of cognitive and physiological processes. The bystander must calculate the perceived costs and benefits of providing assistance (Piliavin, Dovidio, Gaetner & Clark, 1981) (see Appendix G). A person must first become physiologically aroused at the sight of another’s distress. Often a person’s heart rate will drop; this is an orienting reaction allowing us to determine the situation, followed by a dramatic rise in physiological reactions. This serves as a defence reaction, preparing the bystander to act. The greater the physiological arousal the greater the chance that the bystander will act. Situational factors, such as the severity and clarity of the situation contribute to the intensity of the physiological responses. Thus if a victim yells that they need help, a bystander’s physiological response will be heightened and hence increases the chance of bystander intervention (Piliavin et al.).

Secondly, this reaction must be labelled as either personal distress or empathetic concern (see Appendix A). Bystander intervention reduces the anxiety of personal distress and thus is a self-serving need. Empathetic concern on the other hand is motivated by the concern for another (Piliavin et al., 1981).

The third process is to evaluate a bystander’s options. A bystander will weigh the costs of direct helping and indirect helping and will chose the action that will reduce personal distress to the lowest cost (Piliavin et al., 1981). To reduce the concerns of bystander intervention, ‘Good Samaritan’ laws can be created and enforced to ensure people who help are not litigated against.

Social-learning theory

The social learning theory states that individuals learn and model their behaviours by observing others (Isom, 1998). This theory can be adapted to reduce the bystander effect. It was demonstrated by Bryan and Test (1967) that exposure to a prosocial model increases the likelihood of bystander intervention. In this study motorists first passed a woman with a flat tyre and another person assisting her. Then the participants came across another car with a flat tyre. Motorists exposed to an altruistic model were over 50% more likely to help. Furthermore, people in positions of leadership act as role models and thus when they intervene in emergency situations they define help as the appropriate response (Vaughan & Hogg, 2002; Smith & Mackie, 2007). Therefore by making altruistic models available to adults and children, for example through television campaigns, this will encourage assistance in emergencies (Hearold, 1986).

My strategy is as follows:

By the end of 2008, develop and screen an ‘awareness campaign’ designed to raise the public’s awareness of common situations that require intervention. The ‘short film’ style screenings should depict the cues and potential obstacles to intervention as well as demonstrating the expected group behaviour with regards to muggings and robberies. Ideally the campaign should use well known and respected public figures or appropriate models. A government sponsored ‘Tropfest’ type short film competition is one possible option. The campaign needs to demonstrate the ideal actions of both the victim and the bystander, and could be produced in a booklet format (see Appendix B). The campaign must be widely administered and target both adult and children audiences. In conjunction, an increase in the awareness of the Neighbourhood Watch campaign would promote personal responsibility, hence heightening the education of this effect and promote helping (see Appendix C).

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D

Appendix E

Appendix F

Appendix G

Appendix H

Reference List

Monday, October 1, 2007

My Own Bystander Effect Experience

Over the weekend I had my own experience with the bystander effect and I will recall the event with reference to Darley & Latane's Multi-stage Model.

On Saturday night my family and I noticed a disturbance (Stage 1- noticing the event). There were a few people outside of one house, however there was no one inside. The three males outside proceeded to destroy the letterbox, tried to kick the door open and attempted to jump over the fence into the backyard (Stage 2 - interpreting the event). The immediate neighbours to the house were drawn out of their home by the racket.

My mother and I talked about calling the police, however my brother stated that the people who were ouside watching on had probably already called the police. Therefore he assumed no personal responsibility to take any action as someone else would do it(bystander effect). However, after reading about the bystander effect I encouraged mum that we probably should still call the police (Stage 3-personal responsibility). I rang and recalled the details to the police and they said they would send a car around to check (Stage 4 & 5- deciding to act and acting).

I have previously become a bystander who does not intervene but after this assignment I am beginning to change my ways.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Darley & Latane's multi-stage model

Darley & Latane's multi-stage model of the decision-making process that underlies bystander intervention.

Source: Westen, D., Burton, L., & Kowalski, R. (2006). Psychology. Australia: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 743.
Adapted from Darley, J. M., & Latane, B.(1968). When will people help in a crisis? Psychology Today, 2, 54-57, 70-71.

The Story Of James Bulger and the Link to the Bystander Effect

The tragic story of James Bulger is just another example where people failed to recognise a person in need of help and also failed to act. If onlookers had not ignored the three boys, further acted or called the police this crime could have been prevented.

Here is story of James, a warning that this story is extremely unpleasant.

February 12, 1993- Friday afternoon

James Bulger was led from a shopping centre by two ten-year old boys.
‘They look like family, navigating a baby brother past shoppers and distractions. Passersby hardly notice them, unaware’

‘James will be senselessly beaten to death by his ten-year-old captors, who will callously abandon him on the railroad tracks. Along their meandering walk the three children encountered adults. A simple inquiry could have ended the tragedy: “Is the boy okay? Let me help you find his mom. Let me take care of that hurt . . . ” These words and an extended hand from a concerned grown-up might have saved James’s life. And spared his mother unbearable grief.’

They walked down to the canal and under a bridge to an isolated area. At this canal they first hurt James. ‘One of them (each blamed the other) picked James up and dropped him on his head.’ Then his capturers Jon and Robert ran away, afraid.

‘A woman saw James and assumed he was with some other children nearby. Jon and Robert turned around and walked back toward James. “Come on, baby.” In his utter innocence, little James with a big bruise and cut on his forehead, once again followed his tormentors.’

‘They walked back toward Stanley Road and crossed at a busy intersection. Some saw the child with the tear-streaked face. Some saw the cut on his forehead. It made some of them uneasy, but no one knew what to do.’

‘A motorist later saw the boys pulling the baby, against his will. He was crying and did not want to go further. He saw Robert kick the baby in the ribs.’

‘The boys carried James to a grassy plateau by a reservoir where they sat on a step and rested, one person saw Jon punch James, grabbing him and violently shaking him. For some inexplicable reason, this witness pulled her curtains, shutting out the scene.’

‘At the grassy knoll by the reservoir, an elderly woman noticed the baby, who was obviously hurt. She approached them and asked what the problem was. James was in tears, his face bruised and red.’ The boys claimed “We just found him at the bottom of the hill.” ‘She told the boys to take him to the Walton Lane Police Station just down the road and gave them directions there. The little boy’s injuries worried her. She pointed them in the direction of the police, but watched incredulously as they walked off in the opposite direction. She shouted after them, but they didn’t turn back. As she stood there, unsure what to do, another woman who had seen the boys earlier said that James had been laughing. She believed the baby was okay; they were probably inexperienced brothers watching over their younger sibling.’

‘The boys walked down the knoll, eventually ending up at County Road. It had been nearly a two-mile hike by now. They stopped inside some of the shops. A woman walking a dog eyed the boys with the toddler and asked what was going on. They told her that they found the lost boy at the Strand and were on their way to the police station. Another concerned woman, who had a little girl with her, overheard the conversation and joined in. “Well,” she said, “you’ve walked a long way from the Strand to Walton Lane Police Station.”

‘The younger woman with the child looked down at James, who was hurt, and appeared upset. “Are you all right, son?” she asked. James didn’t answer. Jon insisted they would find the station; they would take care of it. But the woman felt something wasn’t right. It was getting dark and the boys weren’t honest. She asked that the other woman with the dog to watch her little girl, who was tired, while she escorted James to the station. But the woman with the dog refused -- her pet did not like children. As the boys took off, the younger woman called out, “Are you sure you know the way?” Jon pointed in the direction. “I’ll go that way, missus.”’

Next they went to the rail tracks.

‘The attack and murder of James Bulger occurred between 5:45 and 6:30 p.m. It began with one of the boys flinging paint on James’s face into his left eye. He screamed. As Blake Morrison points out in his book As If, Jon and Robert probably used the paint to “dehumanize James, to wipe him of his normal features. Splashed in sky color, he looked like something else -- a troll doll or alien -- and was less conscience-troubling to kill.” The boys threw stones at James, kicked him, and beat him with bricks. They pulled off his shoes and pants, perhaps sexually assaulting him. They hit him with an iron bar. When they thought James was dead, they laid his body on the railroad track, covering his bleeding head with bricks. They left before the train came.’

‘His upper body was hidden within the coat. His lower body was further down the tracks, completely undressed. He had suffered 42 injuries, most to his face and head and had not died during the attack, but some time before the train hit him. Jon and Robert had left him while he was still alive.’

November 1, 1993: Trial begins

The Verdict

‘The Judge addressed the boys: “The killing of James Bulger was an act of unparalleled evil and barbarity. This child of two was taken from his mother on a journey of over two miles and then, on the railway line, was battered to death without mercy. Then his body was placed across the railway line so it would be run over by a train in an attempt to conceal his murder. In my judgment your conduct was both cunning and very wicked.”’

“This sentence that I pass upon you both is that you should be detained during Her Majesty’s pleasure, in such a place and under such conditions as the Secretary of State may now decide. You will be securely detained for very, very many years, until the Home Secretary is satisfied that you have matured and are fully rehabilitated and until you are no longer a danger.” The judge also allowed that the media be allowed to publish the boys’ names.

From the gallery, someone shouted, “How do you feel now, you little bastards?”

Source: Scott, S. L. (2002). The Death of James Bulger. Retrieved September 20, 2007 from, the Crime Library web site:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Reply To Mike

"Bystanders Who Aided A Woman In Trouble Are Injured"
This incident occured in Melbourne on the corner of of Williams St and Flinders Lane outside of a cafe. This occured in the middle of Melbourne and during peak hour traffic on a monday morning.

I agree that calling the police would be a sensible option, however there may be implications if the person in trouble would soon disappear out of your sight. For example, if the lady and man both got into a taxi.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bystanders Who Aided A Woman In Trouble Are Injured

After discussing the bystander effect with a close friend and expressing my frustration with people failing to help others, they reminded me of the incident in Melbourne not too long ago.

Monday the 18th of June, 2007.

'Bystander Ross Murchie said: "A girl came out of a building over the road, she was a screaming and a guy had her by the hair."She tried to grab hold of a taxi that was going by and the couple of bystanders went over to ask what was happening. He let go of her hair, pulled out a gun and shot them all."

Another witness said he saw two men run to the aid of a woman who was being dragged by the hair out of a taxi by another man."There was a couple of guys [who came] to assist and after that the guy that was holding her by the hair just eventually gave in and reached out for the gun and shot one of the guys twice and shot the girl and shot the other guy," he said.

One person died at the scene, and two others were rushed to hospital

My friend pointed out to me that people may not feel safe to intervene in some situations and incidents such as this may further show they should not put themselves in harms way. This is a good point and may deter many people. However, instead of physically intervening people could call the police and report the incident. This is what many people fail to do.

Bystander Effect- In Our Own Backyard

We would like to think that someone in need does receive help in Australia. However, this is not the case. Many of you may remember an incident last year with an Aboriginal Elder, Ms Barton. Ms Barton, a respected 62-year-old elder, was making her way to work. She wasn't feeling very well and accdiently caught the wrong bus and ended up on the wrong university campus. After making her way to the right bus stop, feeling extremely ill, she fell over. All of the contents of her bag fell onto the ground and no one bothered to held her. Stuggling to pick it all up, she began to vomit. This was at 12:15pm. She lay there in her own vomit, and still vomiting periodically, until 5:45pm, when two Japanese students asked if she was ok. The students called security, and then an ambulance. Ms Barton had suffered a mild stoke, and only after 5 hours, did someone come to her aid. This incident shows the bystander effect clearly, and it has been suggested that it also shows the stereotype of Aboriginals being drunk and hence vomitting from too much alcohol.

The Smoke Filled Room- Bystander Effect

This second video shows the bystander effect in the situation of a smoke filled room. This is adapted from Darley and Latané's experiment in 1968.

The first condition, a participant fills out a survey alone. Smoke soon appears through a vent door.

The second conditon, a participant fills out a survey amongst a number of confederates. Again, smoke appears through a vent, each confederate fails to notice, and the participant fails to act. This experiment is a replica of the 1968 study by Darley & Latane.

The Bystander Effect Clip

I found this clip on utube and thought it was interesting in relation to my Blog 2 topic...
'Local government is alarmed by a recent increase in muggings and robberies in the community, often performed in the presence of others (bystanders). As an expert in the area of pro-social behaviour, you have been asked to come up with strategies that will make people more likely to lend assistance in these types of situations. Using at least two relevant theories/models, outline the strategy you would recommend to the government.'

When asked what would they do if they saw someone in need of help, people responded they would,
-help them
-be concered about their own safety and help if they could
-be concered about legal consequences

I think this clip demonstrates the bystander effect well, however I think there are some ethical issues with this experiment. Firstly, it does not appear that people were debriefed after the experiment that took place in a shopping mall. Secondly, only a few people checked to see if the person laying on the ground was ok. After they checked, the person pretending to be unwell simply just got up and walked away. This i think could produce negative reactions for those who did help, such as humiliation that they were tricked, and anger that it was not genuine. Therefore this could reduce the likelihood of the behaviour occuring again, and this is not a positive step for society.

Bystander's are more likely to respond when others could be aware of their actions.

Figure 2
Cumulative proportion of subjects responding over time: Evaluation apprehension.

Source: Schwartz, S. H., & Gottlieb, A. (1976). Bystander reactions to a violent theft: crime in Jerusalem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 6, 1188-1199.

Bystander Reactions To A Violent Theft

Figure 1
Cumulative proportion of subjects responding over time: Diffusion of responsibility

Source: Schwartz, S. H., & Gottlieb, A. (1976). Bystander reactions to a violent theft: crime in Jerusalem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 6, 1188-1199.

Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police

For Blog 2 my topic is the bystander effect. This story of Kitty Genovese repeatedly appears in studies and is a horrific exmaple where a young women was stabbed to death, while 38 people did nothing. Here is the story of Kitty...

'It was just after 3 a.m. A red Fiat rolled slowly through the darkness into a parking space adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road station in Kew Gardens. The young woman behind the wheel emerged from the car and locked it. She began the 100-foot walk toward her apartment house at 82-70 Austin St. But then she spotted a man standing along her route. Apparently afraid, she changed direction and headed toward the intersection of Austin and Lefferts Boulevard -- where there was a police call box.

Suddenly, the man overtook her and grabbed her. She screamed. Residents of nearby apartment houses turned on their lights and threw open their windows. The woman screamed again: `Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me!''A man in a window shouted: ``Let that girl alone.'' The attacker walked away. Apartment lights went out and windows slammed shut.

The victim staggered toward her apartment. But the attacker returned and stabbed her again.``I'm dying!'' she cried.Windows opened again. The attacker entered a car and drove away. Windows closed, but the attacker soon came back again. His victim had crawled inside the front door of an apartment house at 82-62 Austin St. He found her sprawled on the floor and stabbed her still again. This time he killed her.'

'It was not until 3:50 that morning -- March 13, 1964 -- that a neighbor of the victim called police. Officers arrived two minutes later and found the body. They identified the victim as Catherine Genovese, 28, who had been returning from her job'

'Detectives investigating Genovese's murder discovered that no fewer than 38 of her neighbors had witnessed at least one of her killer's three attacks but had neither come to her aid nor called the police. The one call made to the police came after Genovese was already dead.'

'Today witnesses from the neighborhood, which is made up of one-family homes in the $35,000 to $60,000 range with the exception of the two apartment houses near the railroad station, find it difficult to explain why they didn't call the police.

A man peeked out from a slight opening in the doorway to his apartment and rattled off an account of the killer's second attack. Why hadn't he called the police at the time? "I was tired," he said without emotion. "I went back to bed."'

For more information on Kitty see the following websites:,0,7944135.story

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Australian Stereotypes

I was forwarded this 'Alternative Citizenship Test' today and thought i would share it. I think this demonstrates some of the stereotypes of Australians, such as the way we talk, our traditional customs, what we eat and the stereotypes surrounding our culture. How accurately do you beleive this 'test' is at depciting Australians?

Alternative Citizenship Test

1. Do you understand the meaning, but are unable to explain the origin of, the term "died in the arse"?

2. What is a mole?

3. Are these terms related: chuck a sickie; chuck a spaz; chuck a U-ey?

4. Explain the following passage: "In the arvo last Chrissy the relos rocked up for a barbie, some bevvies and a few snags. After a bit of a Bex and a lie down we opened the pressies, scoffed all the chockies, bickies and lollies. Then we drained a few tinnies and Mum did her block after Dad and Steve had a barney and a bit of biffo."

1. Macca, Chooka and Wanger are driving to Surfers in their Torana. If they are travelling at 100 km/h while listening to Barnsey, Farnsey and Acca Dacca, how many slabs will each person on average consume between flashing a brown eye and having a slash?

2. Complete the following sentences: a) "If the van's rockin' don't bother ... b) You're going home in the back of a ...

c) Fair suck of the ...

3. I've had a gutful and I can't be fagged. Discuss

4. Have you ever been on the giving or receiving end of a wedgie?

5. Do you have a friend or relative who has a car in their front yard "up on blocks"? Is his name Keith and does he have a wife called Cheryl?

1. Does your family regularly eat a dish involving mincemeat, cabbage, curry powder and a packet of chicken noodle soup called either chow mein, chop suey or kai see ming?

2. What are the ingredients in a rissole?

3. Demonstrate the correct procedure for eating a Tim Tam.

4. Do you have an Aunty Myrna who is famous for her tuna mornay and other dishes involving a can of cream of celery soup?

5. In any two-hour period have you ever eaten three-bean salad, a chop and two serves of pav washed down with someone else's beer that has been nicked from a bath full of ice?

6. When you go to a bring- your-own-meat barbie can you eat other people's meat or are you only allowed to eat your own?

7. What purple root vegetable beginning with the letter "b" is required by law to be included in a hamburger with the lot?

1. Do you own or have you ever owned a lawn mower, a pair of thongs, an Esky or Ugg boots?

2. Is it possible to "prang a car" while doing "circle work"?

3. Who would you like to crack on to?

4. Who is the most Australian: Kevin "Bloody" Wilson, John "True Blue" Williamson, Kylie Minogue or Warnie?

5. Is there someone you are only mates with because

they own a trailer or have a pool?

6. Would you love to have a beer with Duncan?

The people to be granted citizenship are the ones who call it a crock and cheat.

The Power of Simplicity

The American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The America complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor." The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise." The Mexican fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all take?" To which the American replied, "15-20 years." "But what then, senor?" The American laughed and said that’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions. "Millions, senor? Then what?" The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Appendix A
The theoretical perspectives within my blog could be improved. For two of my classic experiments; Milgram’s ‘lost letter’ and Clark’s ‘doll test,’ I was unable to find specific theories relating to the experiment. This may be due to the lack of experimental basis, particularly in Clark’s ‘doll test,’ and possibly the inability for me to find the theory in Milgram’s ’lost letter.’ However, in Clark's experiment it was stated that the goal was to discover the ethnic identity and ethnic preference of African American children. With regards to the two other studies; Bandura’s ‘bobo doll’ experiment and Sherif’s ‘Robbers Cave’ experiment I was able to find the experimental theories; social learning theory and realistic conflict theory. However, I was not able to fully elaborate on each of the theories due to the strict word limit. Within this word limit, roughly 270 words per study, I had to identify the experimenter, time period, method, implications, participants and rate the study based on validity and social value. I found this difficult and therefore the theory was only briefly mentioned. Therefore, I feel I covered the essential components in the word limit, rather than go into detail on one simple element.

The research I have conducted for this blog I feel is substantial. I have collected a variety of resources including; journal articles, books and websites. I found the most pressing aspect of conducting research was to find the original research results for the ‘doll test,’ as this study lacked experimental validity. This therefore, made it additionally difficult to find academic reviews on this study. There was an abundance of research on the internet, however for some of the studies there was little academic information. Another element I found difficult was to clearly identify each study conducted by the experimenters. For example, Albert Bandura and Kenneth Clark conducted many similar experiments, and this made it difficult to find academic articles on this specific study I was looking for, as each varied slightly. Furthermore, studies such as Bandura's experiment were often referred to as the 'bobo doll' experiment, thus this name refers many studies, not just one. Therefore it was difficult to find an actual name for the study and research on that particular study.

To improve the research aspect of my blog I could have chosen a different classic experiment. I did however, begin with the famous blue eyed experiment by Jane Elliot’s. I soon discarded this study, as like Clark’s experiment there was also little academic information. I found this surprising as this study is highly known. I could have also discarded Clark’s experiment, but I felt it acted as a powerful example of ‘research’ results that had been accepted by society due to publicity.

Written Expression
I feel that my blog is relatively easy to read and understand. I have checked that it actually makes sense by asking people, who are not psychology students, to read it and provide some feedback. Through this I have found that my blog is easy to read and the concepts were explained enough for those with no psychology background to understand. I found that creating a blog, instead of an essay, was more challenging than I thought. I have become set in my ways with the essay format, and was a little uneasy breaking down my paragraphs (which look longer in a blog than on an A4 piece of paper) and adding headings. However, I believe I still have applied APA well with my referencing of the sources I have used. With regards to my table displaying the essential elements of each study, it does not strictly apply to the APA format, however it is easier to read with the way it is set out. In my blog I have hyperlinked several figures and these all have captions, in the APA format. I think that the layout of my blog is easy to read, with headings, an abstract and vision aids.

Before this, I had never conducted a readability score, thus this concept is very foreign to me. I feel my scores show that I have a lot of improvement to make on my expression. I need to work on breaking my sentences down into simpler concepts, ensuring I still make each point specifically. This is a valuable learning curve for me as it has made me aware of these aspects I could focus on.

My readability analysis:

Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 21
Ideally, web page text should be around the 60 to 80 mark on this scale. The higher the score, the more readable the text.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 16
Ideally, web page text should be around the 6 to 7 mark on this scale. The lower the score, the more readable the text.

Gunning-Fog Index: 24
Ideally, web page text should be between 11 and 15 on this scale. The lower the score, the more readable the text. (Anything over 22 should be considered the equivalent of post-graduate level text).

Notes:Average syllables per word: 1.91

Average words per sentence: 23.9

Word count: 1,486

Online Engagement
Beginning with my own blog, I feel that my page is set out in an easy-to-read format. I have put up several posts, including; videos, surveys, pictures, interesting studies and quotes. This allows for people who do not want to read a long section of writing or find it easier to understand using a visual medium. I set up my blog early in the semester, however, unfortunately my contribution to my blog and my classmate’s blogs diminished as my workload increased. I am also the type of person that will sit and listen to other people’s perspectives before I comment to ensure I get the full picture and this has led to a lesser contribution. Therefore, my goal is to increase my online engagement and to go with my instincts, instead of waiting for the safe option to ensure my opinion is correct. Throughout weeks 1 to 7 I have made several comments on people’s blogs; however I had great difficulty remembering which pages they were on to find them.

List of my contributions:

List of my blogs:

Appendix B

Links of interest
Milgram -

Clark -

Bandura -

Sherif -

Appendix C

The Drinking Water Problem: The first superordinate goal to be introduced and involved the boys fixing their water supply which required cooperation by both groups. The groups worked together for over 45 minutes to reach a obtain a singular goal.

The Problem of Securing a Movie: The next superordinate goal to be introduced was a feature-length movie. The two groups had to pool their money with the camp in order to purchase the movie.

Other superordinate goals included the joint use of a tug-of-war-rope on a partly cut-through dangerous tree.

Sherif's Robbers Cave Experiment

Figure 2
Comparison of Rattlers' (left) and Eagles' (right) friendship choices of in-group and out-group members at the end of Stage 2 and Stage 3.

Stage 1- experimental formation of the in-group

Stage 2- production of negative attitudes toward the out-group

Stage 3- reduction of inter-group hostility

Modelling of Agression

Figure 1
Modelling of Aggressive Behaviour- Albert Bandura

Stanley Milgram...

"The social psychology of this century reveals a major lesson: often it is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act." (1974)

Albert Bandura- 'Bobo doll'

The Classic Experiments of Aggression, Prejudice and Stereotypes in Social Psychology

The aim of this blog is to discuss four classic social psychology experiments which reveal important understandings about prejudice, stereotyping and aggression. This blog examines the experimental validity and value of the research conducted and my personal ranking of each study.

Classic social psychology experiments
are used to reveal key elements of aggressive behaviour, prejudice and stereotyping. Prejudice is the ‘unfavourable attitude towards a social group and its members’ and is displayed in the ‘lost letter’ experiment conducted by Stanley Milgram (Vaughan & Hogg, 2002, p. 256). A stereotype is a ‘widely shared and simplified evaluative image of a social group and its members’ and is exhibited in the ‘doll test’ conducted by Clark and Clark (Vaughan & Hogg, 2002, p. 259). Lastly, aggression is ‘behaviour that is intended to injure someone physically or psychologically’ (Breckler, 2006). The ‘bobo doll’ experiment conducted by Albert Bandura demonstrates the ability for children to learn aggressive behaviours from models, and the ‘Robbers Cave’ experiment displays the initiation of aggressive behaviour and also the development of prejudice. Each classic experiment carries strengths and weaknesses and raises implications; however some studies are more soundly based in psychological theory and experimental validity.

The ‘Doll test’ conducted by Clark and Clark (1940) is a famous experiment known primarily in the Supreme Court case of Brown v Topeka Board of Education in 1954 (Vaughan & Hogg, 2002; ‘With an even hand’ Brown v. Board at fifty, 2004). This experiment on stereotypes utilised four plastic dolls, of either Black or White in colour to discover ethnic identity and ethnic preference of African American children. 150 children aged between 3 and 5, were shown a White doll and a Black doll and were asked a series of questions, for example to select ‘the doll that is the nice doll.’ Results showed that 67% of Black children preferred the White dolls to play with, 59% indicated the White doll as the nice doll and 59% chose the Black doll as the one that looks bad (Powell-Hopson & Hopson, 1988).

Clark used his results to show ‘that school segregation was distorting the minds of Black youngsters to the point of making them self-hating’ (Douglas, 2006). This study has been criticised for being famous only for the reference in the court case as opposed to the experimental value of the work. Criticisms of the study include a lack of theory and control of variables. An African American husband and wife team conducted the studies, and thus their desired outcomes of wanting to prove African Americans were negatively stereotyped may have skewed the results. This study presents a shock factor in the results and thus it is a well-known experiment; however the results lack experimental weight and therefore I have ranked it in fourth position.

Milgram’s famous ‘lost letter’ experiment is a technique to examine the prejudice toward socially undesirable groups. Milgram dispersed self-addressed and stamped envelopes and counted the number of ‘lost letters’ that were mailed (Milgram 1977). The envelopes were addressed to; medical research associates, friends of the Communist party, friends of the Nazi party and Mr. Walter Carnap (Milgram, Mann & Harter, 1965). The letters were dispersed in the streets, under car windscreen wipers, in telephone booths and in shops. Those who found the letters could either; post it, ignore it or actively destroy it (Shotland & Berger, 1970). Milgram distributed 400 letters, 100 addressed to each of the groups, and as expected more people mailed letters addressed to the socially desirable groups (those addressed to medical associates and the personal letter) than to the socially undesirable groups (Nazi party and Communist party) (Milgram, 1977).

The rate of return was the focus of the study and was highest for the Medical research associates with 72%, 71% for the personal letter and 25% each for the friends of the Nazi party and friends of the Community party (Milgram, Mann & Harter, 1965). However, this study has limitations as only the return rate can be assessed and it only works for strong issues (Milgram, 1969). This study is significant as it allows prejudice to be examined through an everyday task, without people realising that their prejudice is being examined, thus making it powerful and my number three.

In 1961, Bandura conducted the famous ‘bobo doll’ study, ‘transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models’ (Bandura, Ross & Ross, 1961). This study was based on the social learning theory which proposes that ‘humans learn many kinds of responses, including aggressive ones, by observing other people’ (Breckler, 2006, p. 450). The 72 participants were recruited from the Stanford University Nursery School and ranged in age from 37 to 69 months. Three groups were created; an aggressive experimental group, a nonaggressive experimental group and a control group. The groups were further divided by gender of the participants and gender of the models. The participants were brought into a room and placed in the corner to play; in the experimental groups an actor was brought in who played on the other side of the room (Bandura, Ross & Ross, 1961). The participants were left to observe the actor who played independently, acting either aggressive or nonaggressive. The participants were then led to another room where their behaviour was observed and measured in terms of imitation of physical aggression, verbal aggression and nonaggressive verbal responses.

Bandura found that the exposure of subjects to aggressive models increased the probability of aggressive behaviour, and these subjects’ scores were significantly higher than those of the nonaggressive and control groups (Bandura, Ross & Ross, 1961). This study demonstrates that young children model the aggressive behaviour of those around them; this is important as it reveals that children notice and replicate others’ actions. By reducing the exposure to aggressive models, the aggressive acts displayed by a child may be minimised. These findings were replicated in other studies of modelling by Bandura including the modelling of aggression through television, cartoons and also the implications of rewards and punishment for aggressive acts (Isom, 1998; Bandura, 1971; Grusec, 1992). This study I have placed as my number two as it is both a valid and a reliable study, and produces great implications for the behaviour of those around children.

Aggression and Prejudice
The ‘intergroup conflict and cooperation: the Robbers Cave Experiment’ conducted by Sherif in 1961 demonstrates aspects of aggression and prejudice. In this field experiment twenty-two 11-year olds were assigned into two groups, each participant was similar in; socioeconomic status; ethnic and religious backgrounds; family environment; athletic ability and camping experience (Sherif, Harvey, Jack White, Hood & Sherif, 1961; Aron & Aron, 2007; Wessells, 1994). The study focuses on the realistic conflict theory which suggests when there are limited resources, conflict, prejudice and discrimination arises between the groups who seek that common resource. This study was conducted in three stages; experimental formation of the in-group; production of negative attitudes toward the out-group and reduction of inter-group hostility. The experimenters created an atmosphere of in-group and out-group mentality and heightened this through competition over limited resources, such as prizes.

Prejudice against the out-group developed first, then verbal aggression and then aggressive actions such as burning each other’s flags. The hostility was only overcome by the use of superordinate goals to construct a cooperative nature between the two groups (Sherif, Harvey, Jack White, Hood & Sherif, 1961; Fine, 2004). Sherif and colleagues had created a ‘microcosm of an intolerant and warring world’ and the implications showed that ‘two groups can exist as long as they develop meaningful joint goals’ (Aron & Aron, 2007). This study is significant in that it shows that prejudice and aggression can easily develop between people of very similar ethnic, religious and socio-economic status when placed in a situation of realistic conflict. Sherif brings together psychological theory and elements of both prejudice and aggression and thus I have ranked it as the most significant classic experiment.

The classic social psychology experiments are revealing in regards to the development and existence of stereotypes, prejudice and aggression. Prejudice and stereotyping are particularly difficult to assess due to social desirability, people are not often willing to express their discriminatory views of others. The ‘lost letter’ experiment by Milgram enables an easy examination of the prejudice by hiding the motivation behind the lost letter. The assessment of the stereotypes already in place with young African American children was conducted by Clark. This study, though having little experimental basis, revealed the stereotype of Black as bad and White as nice. Albert Bandura, also focused on young children, demonstrating the early behavioural modelling of aggression. The study of children is important, showing that children are in a critical period for modelling the thoughts and behaviours demonstrated by those around them. Lastly, the Robbers Cave experiment reveals that competition for limited resources can easily produce prejudice and aggression in those that are relatively similar in age, socioeconomic status, religious views and ethnic identity. This study is highly relevant to modern society and thus it is my first choice. Each of these social psychology experiments has been classified as a ‘classic experiment’ and each is important on the basis of the implications produced.

Reference List
Argyle, M. (1992). The social psychology of everyday life. London: Routledge.

Aron, A., & Aron, E. (2007). Chutzpah: Social Psychology takes on the big issues. In J. A. Nier (Ed.), Taking sides: clashing views in Social Psychology (pp. 30- 49). Dubuque, Iowa: McGraw-Hill.

Bandura, A. (1971). Analysis of modeling processes. In A. Bandura (Ed.), Psychological modeling: conflicting theories (pp. 1-62). Chicago: Aldine Atherton.

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