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Bystander Effect Essay

Introduction – This study researched the implications of the bystander effect when both gaze and no gaze methods were used. It tested this with woman to woman interaction only. The belief was that when gaze was held between the subject needing assistance and a random subject the expressed desire to help would raise. Methods Participants – For participants the study used one hundred and ten adult American women waiting alone at a bus stop in Staten Island, New York. Apparatus/Materials – two women dressed in plain clothes, a pocket full of change, and conducted at a bus stop.

Procedures – Two women dressed in plain clothes or one woman alone approached a bus stop where a solitary other woman already was(the subject) one of the women had a cast on her dominant hand. The woman with the impairment reached into her pocket on the side of her casted hand with the opposite hand and attempted to draw coins from the pocket. Upon doing this she dropped the coins over the sidewalk. After the coins had fallen she either made eye contact with the subject or just proceeded to pick up the coins.

If the subject assisted in picking up the coins or helped identify where the coins were she was considered helpful. IV – the woman dropping the coins DV – whether or not the subject assisted in picking up or finding the coins. Results – In the gaze versus no gaze condition with a companion 70% of the subjects assisted rather than 30% that assisted when no gaze was used. When no- gaze was used and tested alone versus with companion a significant difference was seen. 33% helped when the person in need of help was alone as opposed to 11% when with a companion.

Discussion – this research shows that a subject can feel increased responsibility when someone else is in the vicinity and gaze is held rather than when the subject is alone and gaze is held versus gaze not being held. A possible answer for his is that when two or more people are around and someone in distress makes eye contact they are showing a distinct desire for that person rather than the other people around who they could ask for assistance. This makes a subject feel more responsible to help rather than if they would have not made eye contact because the distressee is asking indirectly for help.

The difference in between look and non- look while alone was less significant because the bystander already seemingly had a sole responsibility to help and not expect someone else to and so looking at them wasn’t as much asking them specifically rather than a plea for help. Limitations – the person in need of help could be asking for different amount of help with just there facial expressions. Certain females may prefer other females more than others and be more inclined to help. Future Research – this study can be held again but rather than having solely female to female interaction, male to female and female to male interaction can be had.


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