The Bystander Effect is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to situations in which individuals do not extend any means of help to a victim when others are present. One clear cause that underlies the basis of this occurrence is the number of people or, bystanders, involved. While this argument forms the basis of the effect, I also believe that ambiguity, or in this case, the diffusion of responsibility amongst those present, plays a deeper role in the passivity of the bystanders.
I believe that as the number of bystanders increases, they will each experience a minimized responsibility towards aiding the person in need and as a result, ignore or pay minimal attention to the victim. In order to test this hypothesis, an experiment must be designed to manipulate the number of people in the area when an apparent victim demonstrates his or her need for assistance. The independent variable, that which is manipulated by the experimenter, is represented by the number of bystanders present in each case.
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On the other hand, the dependent variable will be operationally defined as the number of individuals that actively seek to help the victim through verbal inquiry (“Do you need help? ) and/or physical assistance. In this experiment, the technique of deception must be used to adequately control all confounds and retain the validity of the obtained results. The two control groups will consist of ten individuals each (five males and five females that are representative of the general population and randomly assigned to one of the two control groups) and will differ only in the sex of the victim.
The experimental groups will consist of two, four, six, eight, twelve, fourteen, sixteen, eighteen, and twenty individuals, equally divided by sex. This experimental process seeks to eliminate the nonfood of gender as affecting the true area of study, both in terms of the bystanders and the victim. Each participant will be told that he or she is to report to a laboratory setting in which he or she will take a short written test seeking to measure differences in special reasoning between males and females.
An actor (playing the role of the victim) will walk into the room and “accidentally’ drop a folder full of papers (the supposed written test) near the entrance, sending the papers everywhere. The number of individuals who actively seek to help the victim will be recorded and the test will then be administered. While the results of the test do not necessarily matter, I believe that delivering it eliminates the possibility that test subjects would reveal the true motive of the experiment to other potential participants.
Once the data from each group has been collected, analysis may begin to establish a relationship between the number of bystanders and the help offered to the victim. Just as informed consent is a crucial ethical aspect that comes with any experimental process involving humans, the method of debriefing must also be SYS 100 Assignment 1 By mazurka implemented, especially in cases of deception. Once all testing has concluded, each of the participants will be notified of the true experiment and made aware that privacy and confidentiality will be maintained.
From the results of experimentation, it will be possible to assess the nature of the original hypothesis. While already confirmed as testable and specific, the hypothesis, should the data show that the number of individuals willing to offer help towards the victim increases with an increased sample size, will be confirmed as falsifiable, yet rejected as accurate and redrawn accordingly. Conversely, should the data affirm the original hypothesis, it will be accepted and further experimentation will seek to generate new theories.
In designing this experiment, I was careful to avoid potential confounds by restricting the experiment to a laboratory setting and specifying mixed genders in all control and experimental groups. While this eliminated gender as a confound and individual variances were nullified by a random assignment of the representative sample, I was also weary of location and time of day. Under ideal conditions, this experiment would be conducted in a real-world setting (as opposed to the artificiality f the laboratory). This, however, brings many possible hindrances into consideration.
To begin, it would be extremely difficult to count the number of bystanders that did not actively seek to help the victim. Additionally, it would be very difficult to manipulate the number of the people present in a given location without revealing the true intentions of experimentation. On this note, I considered simply altering the area or time of day between groups in order to experiment with different numbers of people (for example, not as many people would be in a school hallway after the final period compared to between classes).
These confounds, although easily overlooked, could also impact the obtained results. In this experiment, both internal and external validity were preserved. The independent variable was effectively manipulated and the results, thanks to the representative sample, could be generalized to the population. Although this procedure did not test whether bystanders experienced a diminished sense of responsibility towards the victim as the number of individuals increased, future experimentation could be conducted to attain either alternative or clarifying explanations.