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To Help or Ignore

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By circuitboi1976
Words 1015
Pages 5
To Help or Ignore Community College

In 1964 Kitty Genovese was returning home from work in a middle-class neighborhood in Queens New York. As she approached the front of her apartment building she was attacked by a man with a knife. The man stabbed her several times as Kitty screamed for help. A resident of the apartments witnessed the attack and screamed from his window for the attacker to leave her alone. Initially the man began to walk away but turned around and knocked her down continuing the assault. Kitty continued to scream until someone finally called for help. Police arrived at the scene two minutes later to find Kitty dead and the perpetrator was nowhere to be found.
During the investigation the police found that there were 38 people who witnessed the crime, but only one called for the police. One couple said they assumed that the police had already been called and moved their chairs closer to the window to watch. The attack lasted about 35 minutes. If someone would have called the police sooner Kitty may have survived and the perpetrator could have been caught. The Genovese incident created interest in the Psychological world. Two psychologists, John Darley of New York University and Bibb Latané of Columbia, set out to understand the forces that caused the bystanders not to react. They hypothesized that one of the major forces present in this case was the bystander effect which is a tendency for individuals to delay in assisting those who need help assuming that other individuals will help. John Darley and Bibb Latané decided to test their hypothesis. They proposed that the reason no one took steps to help is they thought that someone else had called for help. Darley and Latané could not reenact the events that lead to Kitty Genovese’s murder for experimental purposes. Rather, they designed an experiment that would mimic an...

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