In our study of bystanderism we’re looking at factors that influence bystanderism. That is to say, factors that might influence the extent to which people help or don’t help someone in need in a given situation.

As this is part of our unit on social influence, the primary factors you need to understand are social ones. Drawing on your recent learning about normative and informational social influence in conformity studies will help you make connections to factors influencing bystanderism, as they may be similar.

Here are the primary factors that will be demonstrated in the research:

  • Diffusion of responsibility
  • Informational and normative social influence

Like conformity, there are many studies investigate other factors as well. Those students who can first show their understanding of the above factors will be able to explore others further. Other factors shown in research to influence bystanderism include:

  • The type of person in need (e.g. drunk, injured, minority, in-group/out-group)
  • The type of person helping (confidence, size)
  • The location of the incident (heavily populated vs. not very heavily populated)
  • Culture (location and culture of helper)

You first need to be able to explain Darley and Latane’s smokey room study and how the results of this study show two factors influencing bystanderism.