Anticipation of future interaction and the bystander effect

Jody Gottlieb, Charles S Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous research suggests that people are slower to offer help in an emergency when there are other witnesses than when there are not. This finding has come to be known as the bystander effect. In research that has demonstrated this effect, however, the other witnesses were invariably anonymous others who had no relationship with the subject and with whom the subject probably did not expect to interact again. The present research examined the hypothesis that the expectation of participating in subsequent face-to-face interaction with other bystanders would cause the bystander effect to be minimized. Female college students were led to believe either that they would have no personal contact with the other participants in an ostensible group discussion, or that the participants would be involved in a later face-to-face discussion session. Each subject then participated in what she believed to be an anonymous discussion via intercoms, involving either one person or five persons beside herself. During this period, an ostensible co-subject experienced a choking fit. Help was offered more quickly among subjects who expected future interaction than among those who did not. In the no future interaction condition, latencies to help were longer in six-member than in two-member groups, but the comparable difference, although in the same direction, was not reliable among subjects who expected interaction. Presence of male "co-subjects" in an exploratory condition failed to inhibit helping. Discussion centers on the broader implications of the findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-260
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980

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Bystander Effect
interaction
Research
Airway Obstruction
witness
Emergencies
Students
human being
group membership
group discussion
contact
cause

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Anticipation of future interaction and the bystander effect. / Gottlieb, Jody; Carver, Charles S.

In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 16, No. 3, 01.01.1980, p. 253-260.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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